It's a common question: How do I support my professional learning communities in their development? Aside from my favorite answer: Create Systems! another favorite strategy is to provide consistent, weekly feedback to your teams.
We know that feedback is a beneficial practice for learning support for our students, so why is it we acted surprised by the idea that feedback on the PLC process will support our PLCs?
It isn't that providing feedback to PLC teams is necessarily difficult. Instead, what I find more often is that it's just not typically utilized, therefore, admin and coaches have questions like, "How often do we give the feedback?" and "Should we write the feedback on their PLC agendas?" and "How do we know what kinds of feedback to give?" and "Who gives the feedback?"
All great questions. All totally answerable.
Here are a few tips that help (instead of hinder) your PLC feedback processes:
Be clear at the very start of the year that you will give feedback.
Establish who will provide feedback to which PLCs (ie, between you and your admin/coaches, assign yourselves certain PLCs to "coach").
Provide feedback on every single PLC meeting.
Create a system where your teams share their PLC notes/agendas with you so that you can easily access them (without needing to use email).
Keep your feedback consistent and short: Praise the good work and point out improvement areas with curiosity.
Feedback is a powerful communication tool. When done with inconsistency, however, it can creating unnecessary fear and anxiety. You can totally build feedback in as part of your process--you just need to do it with clarity and intention.
Here are a few helpful resources that can guide you and your team:
This 45 minute course is designed for administrators and coaches who want a bit more support and guidance on developing feedback for your teams. You gain lifetime access to the course as well as the included guide. This is a great option for admin or coaching teams.
3. PLC Dashboards ($9.99 or create your own!)
One of the best resources that will help you keep track of the feedback you give your teams is an organizational tool (like our dashboards) where you can list and link all the PLC agendas in one spot. Use the dashboard to also designate who gives which PLC feedback, as well as trends that you're noticing within teams.
Just remember: the most important element of providing feedback on the process is to be do so with consistency. If you tell your teams you're going to provide feedback and then fail to do so, it will erode trust and credibility (and no one wants that).
Use a dashboard or some other system to cue you to remember to provide the feedback each week, and look for the positives of what your teams are doing. Reiterate and celebrate what you love to see and and hear, and you will see and hear more of it over time.