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ERIC Number: ED550398
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 204
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-9734-6
Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Professional Learning Communities
Gamez, Octavio
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, California State University, Fullerton
This study presents the results of a social constructivist mixed methods investigation into the perceptions and experiences of elementary teachers participating in professional learning communities (PLCs). In order to better understand the dynamics involved in PLCs, this research used a team development model from human resources literature. Of special interest to this study was the degree to which team members recognize and beneficially utilize each others' strengths. This study used four sources for data collection: questionnaires, interviews, observations, and document collection. The 55-question survey was administered to the entire staff electronically. This was done twice, one year apart, in order to verify and strengthen the study's findings. Four teacher teams were chosen and asked to participate in the study: two primary-grade teams and two upper grade elementary teams. Three of the four teams were observed at regularly scheduled team meetings, and documents were collected at the meetings. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with teachers from the observed teams. Descriptive statistics were employed and used to design tables to display the averages and frequencies of the responses to the questionnaires. The audio recordings, observation notes, and interview transcriptions were analyzed for common themes and to verify PLC literature. Eleven key results and themes emerged from the analysis of the data. These could be further divided into three categories: verification of PLC literature, description of the experiences of teachers in PLCs, and the degree to which team members knew and utilized each others' strengths. The study found that the team that exhibited the most characteristics of PLCs was also the team that showed more use of transactive memory. This suggests that effective and efficient teams have navigated identity negotiation and feedback processes to reach interpersonal congruence and transactive memory. The observations demonstrated that the most effective teams were aware of and utilized team members' strengths. The interviews revealed that many teachers understood and longed to see the paradigm shift from working independently to working interdependently with team members. However, they were frustrated with team members who struggled with balancing personal and team priorities, achieving team cohesion, and accepting joint accountability and responsibility to the team. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A