The Professional Learning Community is built upon the frameworks of a community of practice. A community of practice is defined by Ettienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner as a group of people who share a passion for the same goals, and by discussion and interaction, they learn how to reach their goals in a better way.
The PBEA-PLC community of practice has spent the last three years focusing on the goals of (1) improved teaching, (2) knowledge dissemination, and (3) establishing a network of content experts. The next question becomes "How do we continue to grow?"
As we examine the question of how to grow, I would encourage you to remember that our community is not built upon external factors, but rather it is built upon what we do and what we want.
Here are some ideas on how we can continue to grow and expand and bring more professors into our community:
(1) Purpose: Ensure that the goals and purpose of the PBEA-PLC are clear and thoughtful. We want to ensure that through education and collaboration, African faculty are able to educate competent and capable future plant breeders who can solve Africa's food security needs.
(2) Passion: Continue to search out new PBEA-PLC professors with a passion to teach and a joy for learning. These individuals will embrace the mission and implement quality teaching practices in the classroom. A good start is at the new Africa Plant Breeding Association. Ensuring that the PBEA modules are introduced and teaching and learning sessions offered will help continue the efforts of the professional learning community.
(3) Promotion: Link the values of the PBEA-PLC to the changes that have been seen in the classroom and beyond! Allow new members to see the value that you find in your community by sharing with colleagues the value of continued curriculum enhancements and improvements in teaching.
So, what can I do to grow my community?
Here's a few suggestions:
- Add the PBEA-PLC link to your email signature and share the PBEA-PLC website in your emails and addresses to friends and colleagues in the plant breeding and educational fields! Its a great way to simply and automatically share your project and your community with others!
- Attend meetings! Plant breeding meetings will be occurring across Africa and the United States. They are a great way to network and make connections with other professors and scientists in your field!
- Build a social media presence! Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp are great, informal tools to make social connections that can lead to professional networks.
The most important facet of creating a professional learning community is to remember that it is built upon shared goals, reflection, and discussion. Use the tools around you to make the connections that will help you be successful!!
Photo image retrieved from: http://frailtyicare.org.uk/making-it-happen/community-of-practice/