Below is an excerpt from the original blog.
Four Ways to Stop Ignoring the Forgotten Fourth Critical Question of a PLC
One of the first pieces of common vocabulary educators acquire when learning about Professional Learning Communities are the four critical questions. These questions serve as both a big picture framework and a constant reminder of what collaborative teams in a PLC should address.
The Four Critical Questions:
- What is it we expect students to learn?
- How will we know students have learned it?
- What do we do when students don’t learn it?
- What do we do when students already know it?
Many professionals and teams with whom I have worked are clear, or at least somewhat clear, on what is expected of them with regard to the first three questions. While implementation can be challenging and educators may encounter obstacles, most teams understand the idea of engaging in a collaborative process. Conversations continually cycle as they discuss topics such as a guaranteed and viable curriculum, the development, implementation, and analysis of common formative assessments, and strategies for students who struggle. However, I have found that not all teams clearly understand or spend time on the fourth question.
At a recent Professional Learning Community Institute, I asked a number of experienced participants what they do to address “critical question four.” Most answered that the fourth question is not a common part of their PLCs for a variety of reasons, which included time, priorities, and know-how.
The following are some of the details they shared in explaining why question four is often left for “another day.” ………..