Like any other creative profession, teaching also needs an active nurturing and strong foundation. If you are really interested in teaching, maintaining a relationship with your community of teachers is elementary for your growth in terms of both private life and career-wise. A community, in this sense, would be a Professional Learning Network (PLN) for teachers. It is a community that exists on mutual share and learn of information.

A Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a community or a group of people with similar interests or shared passions with whom a person interacts to create relationships and learn. The learning happens in the form of feedback, insights, documentation, new contacts, or new business opportunities. It is based on reciprocity and a level of trust in knowing that everyone is trying to learn and is searching for value-added information from each other.

In this blog, we will discuss why being in a Professional Learning Network (PLN) is essential for the growth and development of a 21st-century teacher.

Reason one: Find and learn about great resources, lesson plans, etc.

Being with a group of individuals who share your passion for education means there will always be newer ideas, resources, etc to turn to when you need inspiration. The sheer excitement of sharing within the group will drive curiosity and research for alternative methods and solutions for your problems.

A wider community would also mean early access and better insights on various new laws, regulations trends, etc. This could be your alternate source of knowledge from where you can learn how to adapt to a 21st-century education.

Reason two: Share your resources & ideas about what works and what doesn’t

Since a PLN depends on reciprocity and feedback, you can also be sure that whatever information you get will be either tried and tested, or be subjected to careful inspection at a minimum. New edtech tools and platforms that could improve how you process tasks, improved methodologies for teaching-learning, etc. could assure quality and a certain standard to the education you provide and it will help you make your career smoother and save it from being transient.

This way, you will always keep learning about new trends, tools, news, and updates in education. So you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything important.

Reason three: Get help and support when needed

Dependability is a great factor when it comes to groups like these. You can ask for help and directions when stuck, and lend a hand to those in need here. Building a relationship based on mutual trust is such an advantage to have in your professional career. Since communities like these are usually based on learning and sharing, there’s little chance for ulterior motive in plain sight.

As you begin to develop as a teacher, your profile also gets a boost with contributions from your network. Being in the same domain of education adds credibility to this.

Reason four: Learn about the latest trends in education and be updated

Knowing the pulse and learning about the forthcoming is especially important in education. If your institution ever decides to go for accreditation or certification, knowing what to do and what not to do gives you the edge. Surely there’s more than that for a PLN.

The more you learn, the more valuable you will be. Having resources and information to get ahead will give your career a boost like nothing else.

Reason five: Collaborate and work together to solve common problems

A Professional Learning Network (PLN) for teachers has a common denominator; education. And when passionate teachers get together, their pain points and the problems they face are met head-on. New solutions will emerge from these discussions. Having first-hand experience in ‘what’s wrong with what’, these solutions will be more to-the-point and reliable to the teachers.

And who knows, maybe that issue which gives you hell may already have a solution out there. If you choose to share and receive, you may find some revelations that could make your life easier than ever before.

PLN is common in most domains including education across the globe. So if you still don’t happen to be in one, hope this article has inspired you to be a part of a Professional Learning Network (PLN) for teachers. We figured out these reasons from talking with teachers and subject-matter experts on improving education. So if you think these reasons are convincing enough, please let us know in the comments. You can also share about anything you’d like to add to this list and your experience in being in a PLN for teachers.

Linways, being at the forefront of education and research to find ways to improve teaching-learning, have come up with a great discussion platform for teachers: Discuss Education

Discuss Education is a teachers’ community that essentially serves as a peer network. You can easily be a part of this fast-growing teachers’ community on popular social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. This group hosts engaging conversations and discussions about teaching strategies, various problems teachers face and their solutions, new and latest updates on education rules, technology, and more. Check out Discuss Education right now with the links below.

Also published on Medium.