Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Charlene Desir

Committee Member

Mary Clisbee

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham

Abstract

Professional learning communities (PLCs) are increasingly being used in South Korean elementary schools in order to improve student learning and the quality of teaching. This new educational trend is being funded by provincial offices of education but facing some difficulties in implementation and sustainability. School leaders, teacher leaders, and teachers are struggling to understand the purpose of professional learning communities and how to use them to improve student learning and the quality of teaching. In addition, South Korean elementary school teachers are transient, as they rotate to new schools every two to three years. This impacts their ability to build trust and communication, two fundamental components within a PLC. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of veteran elementary school teachers with PLC experience in Chungbuk Province, South Korea. To accomplish this, the researcher collected data by conducting a series of two individual interviews with each of the six participants. Four themes emerged from data analysis: (a) officially voluntary, unofficially mandatory, (b) policy, not reality, (c) drawing the short straw for leadership, (d) vehicle for venting. The findings of this study will assist provincial offices of education in helping elementary schools implement and sustain PLCs. The data analyzed will also help school leaders, teacher leaders, and teachers identify fundamental components of PLCs that need to be understood and developed in order to be successful.

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