Clay County Schools
What's the Norm?
As you reach the midyear mark for Professional Learning Communities it is a good time to revisit your team norms. "Any group that meets regularly or that is trying to 'do business' needs to identify its existing norms or develop new norms." (Richardson). At the beginning of the year we encouraged you to set the expectations for behavior and collaboration by developing norms with your PLC team. Typically norms include items which address efficiency and productivity, focus on the goals, and ways to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate.
Creating norms is the first step towards establishing effective team meetings. But establishing norms alone is not enough. Learning Forward author, Joan Richardson cautions, "Simply writing norms does not guarantee that the group will remember and respect them. Groups need to continually remind themselves about the norms they’ve identified. ..each group needs to periodically evaluate its adherence to the norms." To put this in other terms, your team needs to come back to your norms again and determine how it is working.
Check in with your team by asking the following questions:
- How are we doing?
- Which of the norms am I struggling to keep?
- Why did we include this norm in the first place?
- Do any of our norms need to be abandoned?
- Do we need to add a norm to address something we didn’t consider initially?
A ”fundamental principle of a professional learning community is the professionalism of members at all levels -- engaging fully, keeping commitments, practicing civility, using dialogue to deepen understanding, challenging assumptions, communicating effectively." (Killon) The investment of time your team will make in creating, revisiting, and refining your norms will be repaid in full.