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. Public Schools of North Carolina . . State Board of Education . . Department Of Public Instruction .

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES

STEP 2: CONSIDER THE USE OF AN EXTERNAL CHANGE FACILITATOR

Change facilitators make an important contribution by assisting staff in bringing a school’s disjointed and poorly articulated efforts into alignment, particularly at the beginning of the improvement process. Change facilitators can also take a “balcony view” (Garmston & Wellman, 1999), a macro-centric view of situations, in which they try, with compassion and detachment, to understand the nature of the existing situation. In so doing, facilitators understand the situations and contexts with which school staff are dealing, and can encourage actions of individuals in new roles, helping their school to become a professional learning community. Particularly cognizant of the leadership qualities of the principal, and the extent to which leadership is shared in the school, change facilitators can employ the balcony view to offer the most appropriate support and encouragement to staff in achieving their goals. This perspective also offers change facilitators the opportunity to gain a sense of resources available to the school, as well as the degree to which teachers are committed to learning more about their practice.2