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On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities [Hardcover]

By Richard Dufour (Editor), Robert Eaker (Editor) & Rebecca DuFour (Editor)
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Item description for On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities by Richard Dufour, Robert Eaker & Rebecca DuFour...

On Common Ground provides a valuable tool for educators who are doing the hard work of improving their schools. This resource offers teachers and administrators a coherent conceptual framework and specific, practical strategies for moving forward with their improvement efforts. Any listing of North America s leading authorities on school improvement would include the authors in this book. These authors agree on many of the best strategies for raising student achievement and support the premise that students would be better served if educators: * Embrace learning rather than teaching as their school s mission * Work collaboratively to help all students learn * Use formative assessments and a focus on results to foster continuous improvement * Assume individual responsibility to take steps to create such schools Although they stand on this common ground, clear differences emerge regarding their perspectives on the most effective strategy for making professional learning communities the norm in North America. The differences, however, focus on the means rather than the end. These educational leaders have found common ground in expressing their belief in both the desirability and the power of professional learning communities.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   254
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2005
Publisher   Solution Tree
ISBN  1932127429  
ISBN13  9781932127423  

Availability  0 units.

More About Richard Dufour, Robert Eaker & Rebecca DuFour

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Richard DuFour, en tant qu'ancien directeur et surintendant d'Adlai E. Stevenson, une ecole secondaire de banlieue comptant 4000 eleves, a su faire de cet etablissement l'une des ecoles les plus reputees et admirees des Etats-Unis.

Richard DuFour was born in 1947.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Education > Administration
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Leadership
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Education > Professional Development

Reviews - What do customers think about On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities?

No Silver Bullet, but . . .   Jun 11, 2006
If you want to read a book that combines brief overviews of the work of many well-regarded leaders in the field of education, this book is a good beginning. Those who work in public education and understand the need for re-structuring and re-culturing our schools will appreciate the authors' laser-like focus on student learning through the development of professional learning communities.

The authors of the various chapters of this book focus on the essential elements that most impact student achievement. Rick Stiggins discusses assessment for learning vs. assessment of learning. Douglas Reeves focuses on curriculum and the importance of power standards and differentiated assessment. Jonathon Saphier stresses the need for high expectations for all students and suggests what educators can do when students aren't learning. And there are more . . .

In these times of student and teacher accountability, all educators must use data to make decisions, including those regarding staff development. Professional Learning Communities provide educators with the structure for collaboration and learning. Teams of teachers and administrators work together in a PLC to create an environment that supports school improvement to result in greater student learning.

Developing a PLC in your school is certainly not the silver bullet. However, the book is a good one to read to gain an overview of what educators can do to positively affect student achievement. If you are already familiar with the work done by many of our educational leaders, you may need to go deeper. In that case, this book is probably not for you.
Mixed Message  Jun 5, 2006
Rarely do I find a collection of essays by multiple authors to be a great book. Too often the prose is uneven and the authors, despite the assertions of the editors, come off as talking at cross purposes. This book is no exception.

It is not without value. The theme of this book is the importance of professional learning communities in education and I am a supporter of the concept. I didn't need the authors to convince me of this. Perhaps the most perceptive comment made in the book is that teachers already know how to teach well, they know the best practices, we just need to give them an opportunity to work together, develop mutual support and implement them. The problem is that, on a practical level, this is a hard thing to do in an evironment where scheduling conflicts and self-contained teaching is the norm. What would be nice is to have authors who say more than "this is difficult but you must do it" and instead give some practical suggestions on how to do it. There are some here but not enough.

Perhaps the editors would have been better off authoring the entire book themselves. Some of these essays only pay lip service to PLCs as they wander off into theories that are more personal. I respect Michael Fullan's work on sustainable systems but he didn't seem to really fit here, as did some of the other authors with their own axes to grind.

Still, if a reader goes into this book with eyes wide open, then there are things of value to be found. And, in the tough world of education, anything of value is worth considering.
On Common Ground  May 29, 2006
As the processes of school improvement shifts from regulatory compliance to authentic work in schools, it is essential to build a broad understanding of decades of thinking on school reform. This book offers a strong summary of the concepts most likely to bring real change in the only place that matters, the classroom. We have spent decades talking about change and the learning community concept has the potential to be the catalyst of change.

On Common Ground can build a broad foundation of knowledge however; other resources are needed to detail the specifics. The best highlights include:
1) Michael Fullan on building collective capacity.
2) Doug Reeves on anaylsis of student work and feedback.
3) Rick Stiggins on assessment for learning.
4) Jonathon Saphier on motivation.
5) Mike Schmoker on urgency.
6) Larence Lezotte on shared leadership.

If your goal is to building common understanding about contemporary thinking in the area of school improvement, On Common Ground provides a great starting point.
How Many Ways...  Nov 14, 2005
In how many ways are we going to have to hear that the unexamined methods in which our schools have been organized, structured, staffed, and departmentalized work against our best efforts to create real, sustainable learning communities? The following items were a collection of thoughts on behalf of educators working at the Butte County Office of Education that gathered to discuss this book as part of their professional reading series.

This book offers one of the most comprehensive, candid, and clear calls for reforming the ways in which we approach and engage students each and every day in our schools. By combining the ideas and research from today's most prominent thinkers on the development of effective environments for learning, this book serves as a wonderful, concise compass leading those of us in education who pick it up and care to pay attention to its guidance.

Some guiding points of interest included:
Assessing for Learning vs. of Learning
Focus on the Positive Outcomes of Learning vs. the Punitive Consequences of Not Learning
Collaborative Agreement of Essential Learning vs. Individual, Departmentalized Development of Learner Expectations
Modeling Elements of the Learning Community vs. Merely Proselytizing those Elements
It just isn't that good  Sep 21, 2005
I wanted to like this book. After agreeing to lead a book study for On Common Ground, I *needed* to like this book. I believe in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and think very highly of the work that the DuFours have done in that regard, but I just couldn't get into the book.

The problems are many. Section 1, by Richard DuFour, is nice enough. It gives a good overview of the PLC structure and how it should work, thought chapter 2 was printed earlier in the ASCD's "Educational Leadership" magazine and can thus be found for free. In section 2 we start going downhill in a hurry, particularly in chapter 4 by Rick Stiggins. By the time you get to section 4, where they talk about taking PLCs into a broader, district context, you're completely out of the realm of the schools and into the work of researchers and administrators.

That's the major problem I have with On Common Ground--impracticality. There are good ideas here, but they aren't useable. Many of the authors talk in grand, eloquent language about their topics, but you have to work incredibly hard (believe me, I did) to make the book practical.

If you're looking for a book on PLCs I recommend "Whatever It Takes" or "Professional Learning Communities at Work." They're far more useful.

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