Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of professional development activities for teachers in the Mid -America Region of the Association of Christian Schools International and their relationship to professional learning communities
by Neuzil, Linda M., Ed.D., Northern Illinois University, 2008, 193; 3339367
Abstract (Summary)

The spotlight in education has in recent years been focused on the areas of professional development activities for teachers and the development of professional learning communities. However, the majority of research has omitted the Christian school community which requires its own body of research examining the unique conditions in which both private school students and educators learn and work. While the need for student achievement remains constant in both public and private schools, the social, philosophical, political, physical, financial, and emotional contexts are quite dissimilar. The purpose of this study is to examine the availability and utilization of professional development activities in select schools in the Mid-America Region of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) that support the development of professional learning communities (PLC).

One hundred eleven schools were randomly selected to receive both teacher and administrator surveys to determine availability of professional learning activities, along with an additional teacher survey designed to determine PLC development. Teachers also volunteered for phone interviews for triangulation of the information gathered. Descriptive statistics and varying forms of multiple regression were used to analyze the data revealing 11 activities with the greatest correlation to PLC development. While not much is provided in the area of funding, the time that teachers spend with other teachers working together toward meeting student needs is of great value.

By identifying effective and affordable professional development for Christian schools, this study provides usable information that can minimize teacher isolation and encourage the professional development necessary for continued teacher growth and quality as well as student achievement. The findings also support the need for teachers to become less isolated and more confident in their craft through engagement in appropriate professional activities. As teacher quality and student achievement increase, this may also positively affect the future of the Christian school community, strengthening enrollment and stability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilkins, Elizabeth
Commitee: Daudi, Sabiha, Jeris, Laurel, Vaughn, Marsha
School: Northern Illinois University
Department: Teaching and Learning
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious education, Teacher education
Keywords: Association of Christian Schools International, Christian education, Communities of practice, Mid-America Region, Professional development, Professional learning community, Teacher isolation, Teacher training
Publication Number: 3339367
ISBN: 978-0-549-95709-6
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