Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate


The present study describes the effect of a professional learning community (PLC) for novice teachers at Greenville Elementary, a Title I elementary school in the southern United States. The identified problem of practice at this school involves novice teachers who are required to participate in a district-approved Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teachers (ADEPT) model as the teacher evaluation program in addition to maintaining a portfolio of their work experiences. The participant-researcher wondered if this affected novice teacher’s self-efficacy in the classroom with children of working-class poor, and if a PLC aimed at increasing their feelings of self-efficacy would be useful. Therefore, the research question, “What is the effect of participation in a professional learning community (PLC) and novice teachers’ self-efficacy at a Title I elementary school?” structured the purposes of the present study that involved support for novice teachers to build their self-efficacy in the classroom with elementary children through a PLC. Data for this action research were comprised of questionnaires, semistructured interviews, and classroom observations. The Teacher Self-Efficacy Survey measured pre-PLC and post-PLC self-efficacy. This instrument was composed of 24 short answers with a Likert scale ranging from a response score of 1-9. Albert Bandura’s four sources of efficacy beliefs: (a) performance or mastery experiences; (b) vicarious experiences; (c) verbal or social persuasion; and (d) physiological and/or emotional states, served as the guide for the participant-researcher and her teacher-participants to describe the effect of the PLC on self-efficacy levels of six novice teachers. The analysis of quantitative data were conducted throughout the action research study, and qualitative data from semistructured and informal interviews, as well as observations, at the PLC revealed four emergent themes: (a) formal evaluation anxiety; (b) need for a better support system; (c) novice teacher confidence in teaching; and (d) feelings of unpreparedness. An action plan at the school was designed based on these findings by the teacher-participants and participant-researcher. The first action plan step was to make changes to the institutionalized mentoring program by having teacher-participants become mentors to the novice teachers who would follow behind them. The second action plan step was to address the gap that exists between the privileged, teacher-participants and the Title I students living in poverty in which they teach.


© 2017, Marie Putnam Havran