An Investigation of Professional Learning Communities as a Tool for Educational Change Within One Saskatchewan School Division

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dc.contributor.advisor Clarke, Paul
dc.contributor.advisor Brooks, Paulette Rawlyk, Raymond Vincent 2012-11-13T20:46:18Z 2012-11-13T20:46:18Z 2012-07
dc.description A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education in Educational Administration, University of Regina. viii, 127 p. en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how one Saskatchewan school division used professional learning communities (PLCs) as a tool for change. The investigation involved in-depth interviews with seven participants to determine their perceptions, understanding and viewpoints of PLCs and their implementation within the school division. The participants included one superintendent, one consultant/teacher, one elementary in-school administrator, two secondary in-school administrators, one elementary teacher, and one secondary teacher. The participants were all veteran employees and had experienced the implementation of PLCs firsthand. The main PLC model used in this division was based on the work of DuFour (2004). The analysis of PLCs was built upon two theories often present in literature pertaining to PLCs— complexity theory and loosely-tightly coupled systems theory. The literature review of PLCs presented several findings that showed some possible shortcomings in DuFour's (2004) model. Firstly, the learning community should be built on relationships-- trust, the sharing of ideas, and collegiality rather than a prescriptive and mandated menu of what the community needs to consist of and to accomplish. Secondly, the learning community should be led by teachers themselves to encourage individual transformative change. Thirdly, the learning community should encompass all aspects of all roles of teaching—scientist, care-giver, social activist, and learning manager. Although the superintendent and a few administrators stated some positive aspects to PLCs, all interviewed teachers and most administrators viewed the PLC experience negatively. The findings indicated that there were problems with where to draw the line between mandates and autonomy, finding the passion for PLCs, alleviating stress and burnout, incorporating elementary and secondary school differences, time challenges, and curricula issues. The study presents several recommendations concerning future initiatives. Recommendations included focusing more on relationships within the learning community, attempting to find the edge of chaos in determining where to draw the line between top-down mandates and bottom-up autonomy, more effective communication of the vision and purpose of PLCs, ensuring adequate training and mentoring is in place, understanding that the passion for an initiative is inherently difficult to pass on to those who will be doing the work, lessening the number of simultaneous initiatives, understanding elementary and secondary school differences, providing adequate time for initiative implementation, ensuring communication of the purpose of the PLC is communicated effectively, and having the tools ready to accomplish the work. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Professional learning communities--Saskatchewan
dc.title An Investigation of Professional Learning Communities as a Tool for Educational Change Within One Saskatchewan School Division en_US
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.authorstatus Student en
dc.description.peerreview yes en Master of Educational Administration (EADM) en_US Master's en University of Regina en Faculty of Education en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Dolmage, W. Rod
dc.contributor.externalexaminer Forsberg, Nicholas
dc.identifier.tcnumber TC-SRU-3640

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