The educational leadership problem that this qualitative study addressed was the need to understand how discourse within professional learning communities (PLCs) can enhance or constrain knowledge construction and its application to student improvement. This understanding has the potential to help educational leaders to develop productive professional norms and practices for these communities as well as to gauge their effectiveness. Study participants belonged to two professional learning communities in the 9th- to 10th-grade English department from a single high school. Data sources included video recordings, transcripts, field notes, individual interviews, artifacts, and questionnaires. The approach to the overall analysis of discourse included two levels of analysis: the macro level, which included several sets of domain analyses; and the micro level, which included a critical examination of specific episodes of discourse. These procedures involved the mapping of conversations, including micro-analysis of full transcription of all key events (episodes) into message units.
The findings from the discourse analysis indicated that leadership was found to significantly influence the work of the group—from levels of leadership outside the PLCs as well as from the leadership present inside the PLCs. In conducting the analysis of discourse, a sense of efficacy emerged as a frequent feature of team interaction and was recognized as a component of the work of PLCs. The analysis of the discourse also revealed that members, both individually and collectively, often exerted their autonomy, making decisions outside established guidelines. Overall, the analysis showed that a belief in one's ability and the willingness to take risks within a strong system of support are conducive to collaboration and knowledge construction, which promote the determination of best practices.
The main conclusions drawn from the study were that (a) leadership can influence and be influenced by PLCs through multiple feedback pathways and a willingness to share power and authority; (b) the recognition of team effort and improvement from all sources creates a culture of empowerment; and (c) an operational culture that supports knowledge construction and transformation of practice through autonomous action provides learning opportunities for teachers and, ultimately, their students.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Teacher education, Secondary education|
|Keywords:||Discourse, Knowledge construction, Professional learning communities|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be