The traditional school model (TSM) and professional learning community model (PLC1) are the two common learning methods. TSM is a teacher-centered delivery of giving instructions to students in a class. Mastery of academic learning in the taught subjects such as writing, reading, math, and social studies is required. PLC1 entails a systematic process where teachers collaborate to analyze and support the achievement of improved classroom activities. Unlike the TSM, this model encourages teachers to work in a team to enhance deep team learning. Teachers work together to share ideas and facilitate the development of a favorable learning environment (Sandell & Zimmerman, 2017). It gives room for educators to promote learning and teaching directly and establish strong relationships in teams. It enables teachers to embrace emerging technologies and new research while reflecting on new ideas. This paper intends to compare PLC with the TSM and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages.
Public Learning Community (PLC2) model usually follows the TSM practices, and it is common nationwide. It has many advantages, particularly offering quality instruction to students and sponsorship by the state and federal laws and regulations. It is more flexible to tailor curriculum and instructions, encouraging many parents to continue preferring them to other models. It offers education to all children and influences them to develop accepting and tolerant attitudes. This implies that PLC2 offers a social institution that has many collective advantages. Unlike other alternatives, PLC2 ensures that state-approved standards are guaranteed by covering all the required curricular areas (Zheng et al., 2019). This promotes consistency and uniformity by grade levels where parents are assured of considerable standards of learning for their children.
PLC2 is marked with various shortcomings since teachers do not advance their education or learn new concepts even though teaching methods keep on evolving and changing. This means that teachers continue lagging and are unable to keep up with technological advancement. Some teachers face challenges managing classrooms or staying on topic (Zheng et al., 2019). Lack of team members or mentors to guide teachers result in poor concentration or loss of focus. Moreover, TSM is outdated since they fail to focus on the school and student body but instead concentrate on individual teachers and classes.
Elements of a PLC1 include improved interaction among teachers, focus on student learning, reflective dialogue, shared norms and values, and collaboration. It encourages collective inquiry, result orientation, commitment to continuous improvement, experimentation, and action orientation. Teachers brainstorm innovative and best practices to improve student’s performance and learning. Although PLC1 has many benefits, it has various shortcomings affecting its implementation. The model lacks consistency between schools since changes are made in one school but not nationwide (Sandell & Zimmerman, 2017). Another disadvantage is that the state or federal government does not fund the model, and the involved cost is transferred to parents. It is also expensive to implement and requires the allocation of more time. It affects teachers who are more comfortable when working alone, particularly when it is difficult to get along with colleagues.
PLC1 and TSM have varying challenging aspects in the delivery of services to students. Unlike the TSM, which is straightforward, PLC1 expects teachers to do more than providing information to students. Instructors must be open to change and willing to further their education (Cherrington et al., 2018). Since PLC1 keeps on adding new requirements in the teaching and learning process, it is sometimes costly to implement. Changes come with the need for new learning materials, which has an economic implication and increase the burden to parents. Moreover, suggested changes may require the employment of more teachers to address the issue of inadequate staffing.
Teachers may need to be equipped with better knowledge and skills to achieve the expected quality of service. It usually requires more time for teachers to support learning using a new method before they gain efficiency. This means that PLC1 may sometimes require additional allocation of time since both teachers and learners are new to the system (Sandell & Zimmerman, 2017). The philosophical difference is a major challenge affecting teaching when attempting to implement the PLC1 model. The need for change after a short period can be stressful to teachers, mostly those who are approaching their retirement and not willing to change. Learners’ achievement is affected when the schooling process is altered too fast for them to cope (Cherrington et al., 2018). It can be detrimental when students make sudden changes since little time is allowed for them to understand and catch up with the new requirements.
What has worked for PLC1 is the improvement of the knowledge and skills of educators by promoting expertise exchange, collaborative study, as well as professional dialogue. It has facilitated improved educational achievement, aspirations and enabled students to achieve a greater outcome. The model has realized success in every level of learning but largely in primary and secondary school. The extent of achievement is high since it has extensively promoted collaboration, organization, and inspiration, which facilitates the achievement of better learning outcomes (Zheng et al., 2019). Unlike the TSM, PLC1 has managed to bring learning stakeholders together and supported the establishment of common and effective goals.
Teachers’ role tends to changes in a PLC1 model because the expectation and method of teaching are different. Contrary to the TSM, teachers in PLC1 are required to adjust their method of delivering services depending on the situation (Zheng et al., 2019). They must collaborate and work closely with others in every aspect, including planning, setting goals, and implementing the necessary changes. Educators should keep on learning new skills and enhancing their potential in the PLC1 model.
In conclusion, PLC1 and the TSM have many differences and conflicting benefits, and shortcomings. The TSM physical teaching in school while PLC1 encourages continuous improvement and growth. Teachers in PLC1 are expected to learn new skills and apply different teaching methods from time to time. This exposes them to the challenge of advancing their education, promoting flexibility, and remaining focused. It has worked well in school through enabling effective delivery of education and supporting students to achieve a better outcome.
Cherrington, S., Macaskill, A., Salmon, R., Boniface, S., Shep, S., & Flutey, J. (2018). Developing a pan-university professional learning community. International Journal for Academic Development, 23(4), 298-311.
Sandell, R., & Zimmerman, E. (2017). Evaluating a museum-based professional learning community as a model for art education leadership development. Studies in Art Education, 58(4), 292-311.
Zheng, X., Yin, H., & Li, Z. (2019). Exploring the relationships among instructional leadership, professional learning communities and teacher self-efficacy in China. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 47(6), 843-859.