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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Tara Blyth Nessan
B EDUC 391
Bothell Campus

Special Topics in Education

Explores perspectives on educational policy and practice.

Class description

As the expectation of continual learning is the norm, not the exception, educational professionals are constantly called on to participate in and lead colleagues in “community” learning. In this course, students explore how their own skills map on various models of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), understand others’ and their own roles in PLCs, and explore ways to organize their knowledge to support reflection and continued learning through practical application of knowledge gained.

Student learning goals

The rationale for PLCs in improving schooling, student learning, and professionalism of teachers.

The role of PLCs in local contexts for utilizing existing professional knowledge and addressing current school conditions.

What constitutes the work of PLCs and how it impacts teacher learning.

What influences teacher motivation to participate in PLCs.

How PLCs connect (or don’t) with student learning.

How schools establish and sustain PLCs.

General method of instruction

This course helps students explore theories underlying PLCs through reading, discussion, reflection, and includes practical strategies for how to provide facilitative leadership in PLCs.

Recommended preparation

Although geared for K-12 schools, educators in other settings who are involved in leadership and collaborative efforts towards improvement can find concepts to support personal and institutional growth.

Class assignments and grading

In-class discussion and activities. Major assignments for the course include a reading log and the creation of a PLC implementation plan.

Grades are assigned based on class participation and successful completion of weekly and major assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Tara Blyth Nessan
Date: 02/09/2012