Date of Award

12-2017

Culminating Project Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

Kay Worner

Second Advisor

Roger Worner

Third Advisor

John Eller

Fourth Advisor

James Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

professional learning communities, collaboration, teachers' perceptions

Abstract

The focus of this research is in the area of professional learning community (PLC) implementation in public elementary schools in central Minnesota. Such a study is important in order to ascertain the perceptions of elementary teachers in the successful implementation of PLCs in their schools. While there is research describing the perceptions of school district administrators in actualizing professional learning communities in their districts, there was no research found describing the perceptions of public elementary school teachers in central Minnesota regarding their participation in PLCs. The research approach adopted in this dissertation included a quantitative study utilizing an online survey to gather teachers’ perceptions related to the five essential characteristics of professional learning communities identified by Shirley Hord. Data were analyzed to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in implementation, along with comparisons of the teachers’ perceptions between smaller and larger school districts.

The findings from this research provide evidence that teachers’ perceptions identified definite strengths with the implementation of PLCs in their districts. All survey statements were rated by the teacher participants in the above average range as evident in their school districts. The characteristics of “collective learning and application” and “shared values and vision” received the highest proportion of ratings by the teachers in the study indicating the presence of those characteristics. The characteristics of “shared and supportive leadership” and “supportive conditions (structures)” were rated as less evident in their respective schools. Statements with statistically significant differences were reported in the area of opportunities for peer observations and feedback, as well as, time for collaboration with peers. The study provides administrators with a snapshot of strengths and weaknesses which may lie in current implementation models. It may provide insight into where future efforts involving professional learning communities should be concentrated.

Keywords: professional learning communities, learning communities, PLCs, collaboration, professional development, capacity building, educational reform, school effectiveness, teacher perceptions, plc assessment, and PLCA-R

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