Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Sandra Duncan

Committee Member

John Billings

Abstract

This applied dissertation was designed to determine the strength of the relationship between elementary teachers’ perceptions of the six school practices of the professional learning community (PLC) model and students’ science achievement and if differences exist among teachers at the target school district’s five elementary schools. The six practices of the PLC model are (a) shared and supportive leadership, (b) shared values and vision, (c) collective learning and application, (d) shared personal practice, (e) supportive conditions–relationships, and (f) supportive conditions–structures. The PLCs are presently defined as one of the most discussed school reforms within kindergarten to Grade 12. They assist in advancing best instructional practices and educator collaboration, which has been instrumental in enhancing teacher and student learning.

There is a need to address the diverse learning styles of students and ways teachers can prepare students to be 21st-century learners. The researcher investigated fifth-grade teachers’ perceptions across five elementary schools in the target district. The perceptions and practices of PLC members have an impact on the success of the learning community. The findings in this study suggested a need for shared and supportive leadership. Findings also indicate there is a need to build strong, trusting relationships among PLC members to enhance student learning.

Administrators, teachers, and stakeholders are accountable for each other; so the research indicated that systems need to be in place that allow PLC members to work as a cohesive team to enhance student learning and achievement. The study’s results provided insight on barriers impacting elementary professional learning communities including the school environment. The environment of an effective PLC allows members to build positive relationships, cultivate collegial discourse, and action research to enhance student learning. The results of this study may help educators improve collaborative efforts and teaching practices that are focused upon the science achievement for students.

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