Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A problem based learning project investigating the underlying dimensions of professional learning communities in public primary and secondary schools in the state of Missouri
by Hickman, Philip||||||Schrimpf, Michael||||||Wedlock, Dave, Ed.D., Saint Louis University, 2009, 220; 3383301
Abstract (Summary)

The professional learning community (PLC) model for enacting school improvement through ameliorated educator leadership efficacy and instructional proficiencies has become one of the most popular methods for encouraging higher student achievement in public schools across the State of Missouri. By reviewing the current educational research on the successful implementation of PLCs, the project team extrapolated seven dimensions of high functioning learning communities, derived from the work of Dr. Rick Dufour, Dr. Becky Dufour, Dr. Robert Eaker, Dr. Shirley Hord, Michael Fullan, and others. The team used these dimensions to develop and pilot a quantitative survey that explored the extent to which participating educators reported fulfilling a common mission, sharing leadership, achieving continuous improvement, engaging in collective inquiry, focusing on results, creating support structures, and building a collaborative culture. The pilot survey also focused on the implementation of each of these dimensions by asking respondents to identify the factors that spurred or inhibited growth in each area.

The project team piloted this survey in 13 public school districts in Missouri that provided responses from teachers and administrators in 5 district office buildings, 13 high schools, 14 middle schools, 21 elementary schools. Each of these schools had implemented a PLC for more than one year.

Using a problem-based learning approach to the topic, the project team compared the respondents' reported behaviors with the best-practices outlined in current educational research. Based upon the findings in each of the seven dimensions, the project team offers recommendations to school leaders to improve implementation of these fundamental elements professional learning communities in their schools.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wood, Jody
Commitee:
School: Saint Louis University
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 70/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: School administration
Keywords: Collective learners, Effective schools, Missouri, PLC, Primary schools, Professional learning communities, Secondary schools
Publication Number: 3383301
ISBN: 9781109454819
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