Teacher Perceptions of Professional Learning Communities

Diann W. Marley, Ed.D.

Abstract: Teacher Perceptions of Professional Learning Communities: Communities That Practice Continuous Learning Within Christian Schools (2010)

A challenge in both Christian and public K-12 education is to create schools where
teachers and students are continually learning and improving. In schools that have
experienced improved teaching instruction and increased learning, a common
organizational structure has been found. One such organizational structure can be
defined as professional learning communities (PLCs). Using Hord’s (1997a, 1997b)
conceptual model and research of PLCs, this study was conducted to determine the
degree to which teachers in the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
schools within the South Central Region of the United States perceive that their schools
are practicing the attributes of PLCs. In addition, the study was intended to establish
descriptive and quantitative baseline parameters of PLCs within Christian school research that would contribute to the field of Christian educational research.

The design of the study employed a quantitative and descriptive method using a modified Professional Learning Community Assessment (mPLCA) tool similar to the PLCA originally created by Olivier, Hipp, and Huffman (2003). Consistent with public school PLC literature, the data analysis found that Christian school teachers perceived that all the attributes of a PLC were not being practiced in their schools. From a total of 44 attributes, the highest dimension, Supportive Conditions – Relationships, reported a mean score of 3.60 for the attribute “caring relationships exist among staff and students that are built on trust and respect.” The lowest dimension, Supportive Conditions – Structures, reported a mean score of 2.68 for the attribute “time is provided to facilitate collaborative work.”

Additional research would be helpful to further explore how each PLC dimension and
attribute is supported and sustained in Christian schools.

For Dr. Marley's complete dissertation, click here to order (UMI Publication Number 3439746).

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