Establishing sustainable school improvement through Professional Learning Networks
Despite promising research results, professional development and school improvement do not automatically result from working in Professional Learning Networks (PLNs). Given the importance of sustained school improvement, this chapter describes how such improvement can be supported by teachers working in Professional Learning Networks. PLNs promote sustained school improvement when long-term effective changes attributable to working with the PLN are made in individual teacher behavior and the schools' everyday practices, while all involved display agency. The chapter shows how sustained school improvement is influenced by the combination of school policy and practice. To ensure that successful collaboration can actually take place, a supportive school policy should be in place. This policy should be aimed at freeing up time and/or resources for the PLN members. The chapter explores how six key conditions for working in PLNs can be leveraged to support sustained school improvement. The six key conditions are focus, collaboration, individual/group learning, reflective professional inquiry, leadership and boundary crossing.