Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

David Shellman

Abstract

This study examined the impact of the implementation of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) model on teacher behaviors in two elementary schools. The research questions underlying and providing a research framework for the study were as follows: How does establishing a PLC change teacher instructional behavior? How does the implementation of a PLC encourage teacher professional growth? How do grade level meetings affect the instructional behavior of classroom teachers?

Written documentation and perceptions of principals and teachers, solicited through interviews and focus groups, were used to provide data for the study, along with survey data and grade level meeting documentation. The approach that was used for coding the qualitative data provided by the interviews and the grade level minutes was Renata Tesch's interpretational analysis. This is defined as the process of examining the data collected closely to find themes and patterns that can be used to describe the phenomena (in this case, the effects of implementing the PLC) being studied (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). Creswell's recommended six steps for organizing data, as explained in the third chapter, was used to make an interpretation of the data.

The data collected demonstrated that School A did not experience a change in teacher behaviors as a result of the implementation of the PLC model. A lack of a clear vision and a culture of trust along with a weak understanding of what a PLC is was evident in School A. School B did not show a change in teacher behaviors as a result of the implementation of the PLC model, but the school clearly demonstrated a shared vision and growth in the collective understanding of the PLC model. Recommendations for future study include revisiting these schools after another year of implementation.