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Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Communities of Practice (CoP) are collaboration tools for learning.

Educators, in a PLC, collectively focus on student learning and achievement. The professional learning community model flows from the assumption that the core mission of formal education is not simply to ensure that students are taught but to ensure that they learn (Dufour, R. 2004, p. 1). CoP is a term coined by Wenger (n.d., p. 3) that describes a network formed by individuals with a shared interest, typically in the business community. Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wegner, n.d., p.1). The group members share information, learn from each others skills and experiences and collectively solve problems.

PLCs and CoPs both have the ability to increase productivity and enhance the effectiveness with the use of technology. According to Bonk: The crucial point is that these technologies have vast education applications that personalize, customize, and individualize learning in many formats. Technology tools, systems, and resources encompassing the Web 2.0tools for producing and sharing audio files, creating a live, interactive talk show, uploading personally produced videos or new, or posting ones daily or weekly thoughts and ideasfoster learning exchange, collaboration and the design of new course content and information (2009, p. 328). Any community member with internet access can share information that would be beneficial to either a PLC or a CoP.

Professional Learning Communities are visible all over the world but have remained absent from the educational scene in the United Arab Emirates until recently. With the implementation of the New School Model (NSM) in 2010, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has undertaken the ambitious goal of reforming its

educational system. Teach Away, a recruitment agency, was enlisted by ADEC to recruit thousands of educators to fill positions in the public schools, from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. ADEC also solicited private company advisors to carry out professional development. There are consequences to a reform of this magnitude and speed. The advisors contracted by ADEC have their own reform agendas which result in tensions, as school administrations often felt very much caught in the middle of the various agendas (Dickson, 2012, p. 206). For teachers, the assumption that all educators had the ability to incorporate the English language requirement into the classroom has created stress. Couple this with the situation of having foreign advisers in schools bringing with them different educational ideologies and understanding, not to mention cultural and social differences, and we begin to see the picture of a potentially challenging situation in schools in Abu Dhabi (Dickson, 2012, p. 206). Another challenge is reintroducing Emirates back into the classrooms as educators. Dickson conducted a survey of UAE student teachers and received a concerning response to education reform, Yes, the developments affected me. I changed my mind about becoming a teacher!! (Dickson, 2012, p. 222). Dickson concludes that this response may be a form of natural selection (2012, p. 222), but with a labor force made up of approximately eighty percent foreign nationals, this response must be addressed. PLCs address and challenge the practice of isolation. Gone were the days of working in isolation, when asking for help branded a teacher as the weakest link (Adams, 2009, p. 1). Another exciting benefit of PLCs is that they set up new teachers for success by providing structure and continuity (Adams, 2009, p. 3). The Teacher Guide (ADEC, 2012) for the New School Model lists ten items stating, teachers will be expected to work together as a team (p.14). Prior to the installation of the NSM, Al-Taneijis findings are that not all the characteristics of professional learning community existed in the fifteen schools (2009, p. 26). The resistance of the

seasoned Emirati teachers were a contributing factor that impeded the development of PLCs (Dickson, 2012) prior to ADECs introduction of the NSM. The UAE still faces challenges, but extensive efforts are in place to complete the task of reforming education. The late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who initiated education reform, is quoted as saying: Union means strength. What makes us yearn for it patiently and give all kinds of sacrifices for it is that we consider it as power. Surely, ten fingers are stronger than five (Forty Golden Years of UAE, 2011)

Through a collaborative effort by the members of the PLC, teachers will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their formal education during the structured learning experience of visiting the mall. The mall? The Dubai Mall; where the stores are an afterthought. Claiming recognition as the largest mall in the world, stationed next to the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), the Dubai Mall is a destination unto itself. Students will have the opportunity to explore the mall, while progressing through an ESL lesson plan. Equipped with iPads, students will access the class assignment, speak English with the assistance of an ArabicEnglish dictionary application and record their visit both written and audio-visually. Once students have tunneled through the aquarium, maneuvered down the ski slopes and figured their way onto the ice rink, a vote will unanimously decide whether to have lunch at Outback Steakhouse, TGI Fridays or Texas Roadhouse.

In what part of the world would you like to have lunch and which iPad applications would you use to get there?

Adams, C. (2009). The power of collaboration. Instructor, 119(1), 28-31. Retrieved from https://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-1870605-dt-content-rid19160684_1/courses/EDU520.901238026230/Documents/The%20Power%2 0of%20Collaboration.pdf ADEC. (2012). The foundation of the new school model: An introduction for teachers. Retrieved from http://static.schoolrack.com/files/177601/542509/Teacher's_Guide.pdf . Al-Taneiji, S. (2009). Professional learning communities in the United Arab Emirates schools: Realities and obstacles. International Journal of Applied Educational Studies, 6(1), 16-29. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=c81e300b-617b4ab9-b502-14176e16d990%40sessionmgr4001&vid=6&hid=4103 Bonk, C. J. (2009). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Daintellekt. (April 10, 2013) The Dubai Mall Worlds Largest Shopping Mall *HD* 2013. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XnYjReHyT0 Dickson, M. (2012). Wide-scale educational reform in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: What do the teacher training students think? Journal of Teacher Education and Educators, 1(2), 203-228. Retrieved from http://www.jtee.org/document/issue2/3mak.pdf Dufour, R. (2004, May). What is a professional learning community? Educational Leadership 61(8), 6-11. Retrieved from

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership/may04/vol61/num08/What-Is-a-Professional-LearningCommunity%C2%A2.aspx Forty Golden Years of UAE. (2011). Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company. Retrieved from http://www.adnec.ae/corporate/news/2011/11/30/fortygolden-years-of-uae Wenger, E. (n.d.). Communities of practice a brief introduction. [Website]. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/theory/