Entries by Richard DuFour

What Is the Sequence of Goal Setting in a PLC?


We received a question about goals from someone who wanted to know if district goals had to be established before school goals could be created, and if school goals were necessary before team goals could be developed. He also asked how to establish a goal that would address… Read more

Should Homework Be Graded?


I received an interesting question from a teacher regarding recommendations for whether or not homework should be graded. He described a scenario in which a student demonstrates proficiency on every quiz, test, and exam but refuses to do homework each day. If, on a daily basis, the student… Read more

Is This Candidate a Good Fit for a PLC?


We received a question from an educator interested in the kinds of questions she might use to determine if a candidate is a good fit for a professional learning community. We suggest that you ask . . . Read more

Teachers Key to Reversing High Failure Rate in Math


We received a query from a high school principal about the failure rate in algebra in his school. At the end of the first quarter, 44 percent of students were receiving grades of D or F. At the end of the first semester, the rate had increased to 55 percent. When the administration met with the teachers to offer support, teachers took the following positions... Read more

Stop Blaming and Take Action: One Teacher’s Manifesto


A teacher who attended a two-day conference on PLCs was moved to write the following manifesto urging her colleagues to join her in a concerted effort to bring the PLC concept to life in their school… Read more

Are There Universities That Teach PLC Principles?


We aren't familiar enough with the programs of the many colleges around the country to recommend particular schools. The best option for a school district is to examine the course requirements of the… Read more

Working in Vertical Teams


We received an inquiry regarding how vertical teams would work together in a professional learning community. Here are some ideas... Read more

Clarifying Collective Inquiry


We received a question about collective inquiry as it relates to professional learning communities. The writer indicated he was confused and wondered if it simply meant the comparison of test scores of the students of a collaborative team. He asked for clarification and… Read more

Motivating Teachers to Collaborate


I recently responded to the following question regarding how to motivate those teachers who do not fully engage in the collaborative process: Our district has adopted a PLC vision, which is fantastic. Two years ago… Read more

Does This Seem Like a PLC Format?

We recently received the following question: At my school we have two mandatory PLC meetings scheduled per month in the mornings before our contract hours begin. We are in the process of preparing to establish schoolwide intervention… Read more

Should We Adhere to Our District’s Prescribed Curriculum or Engage in the Team Learning Process?

We recently received the following message from a principal: I’m trying to understand the relationship between essential outcomes and a math program. My interpretation is that the math program would support the students’ learning… Read more

Questions New Teams Should Consider Early On


Twice this week we received emails from teachers who were just beginning to work in collaborative teams. One of the first issues they tackled was grading and homework policies, and they immediately . . . Read more

Student Grouping in a PLC

We received a message from a school that had concluded assigning students to academic classes based on their ability was the best way to promote differentiated instruction for students. While we . . . Read more

What Is the Role of the Library Media Specialist in a Professional Learning Community?


Recently we received a letter from library media specialists who objected to one of the proposals we offered to give teachers time to collaborate in our book, Learning by Doing. We suggested that… Read more

Does Preparing Students for Success on High-Stakes Assessments Interfere With Their Learning and Rob Teachers of the Opportunity to Be Creative and Innovative?


Current Reality: Teachers across the United States often express their concern that too much emphasis is being placed on state tests. In light of the sanctions being applied under NCLB on the basis . . . Read more