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S1E2 - Building Professional Learning Communities - Dr. Sarah Thomas

Laura Heyes
June 10, 2022

In this Growth over Grades episode, Melody interviews Dr. Sarah Thomas, educator and founder of EduMatch, a platform for educators to foster community. Sarah shares her journey from teacher isolation to thriving within her Professional Learning Network (PLN). She emphasizes the transformative power of professional learning communities and the support they offer, advocating for all educators to find their PLN.

Empowering Educators Through Community

Sarah shares how advancements in technology break down geographical barriers and enable interactions that were once limited by distance. Using digital platforms like EduMatch, educators can easily find and engage with like-minded peers, sharing resources, ideas, and support regardless of their physical location. Sarah encourages educators not only to passively benefit from these communities but also to actively contribute their expertise, experiences, and insights.

Listen, watch, or read the key takeaways below.

Episode Highlights

  • 5:35 How has community changed your life personally and professionally?
  • 9:45 How can community impact achievement?
  • 14:15 Is building community with students easier than adults?
  • 17:15 How has technology enhanced community?
  • 22:52 What is one piece of wisdom you'd like to share with other educators?

Key Takeaways

  • Professional learning communities combat teacher isolation, offering empowerment through organic, collaborative professional development.
  • PLNs can support both personal and professional growth in an inclusive environment.
  • A supportive community fosters psychological safety, enabling teachers to take risks and offer innovative teaching without fear of failure, knowing they have backing even in setbacks.
  • Advancements in technology allow teachers to connect worldwide, helping them find like-minded educators and build supportive communities with ease.
  • Communities thrive when educators share their expertise so others can benefit from it. Sarah says, "Show what you know so others can grow." Active community engagement not only enriches the collective knowledge base but also strengthens the sense of belonging and mutual support within the community.

Curious about real-world assessment? Listen to S1E3 with Todd Scholl

Laura Heyes

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