When I think of my experiences with professional learning practices a couple of major experiences come to mind.
The first is the strong work I do as part of a professional learning community (PLC) with the other two teachers at my small school. We work together to design units, track student progress, support student social and emotional development, and troubleshoot challenging situations. Having a strong team where all members trust each other, do not judge, and are not competitive but collaborative, has allowed us to provide a stronger program at our school. Additionally, it has made the work environment for members of the team a positive place that we look forward to going to each and every day. I feel very fortunate to have worked in a high-functioning PLC.
Another professional practice that has stood out for me is regular use of the “action research” approach to improving instructional practices and unit design. We constantly review work done by other staff, interesting articles, and online resources in an effort to find ways to improve learning outcomes at our school. We gather data to see how effective our effort are (usually quickly and informally), and this allows us to see whether we should continue with a new practice or look for something else.