Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Instruction and Teacher Education

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative Action Research Study was to describe eight elementary English Language Arts (ELA) teachers’ perceptions of a Professional Learning Community (PLC). The teacher-participants’ opinions about the PLC were used to improve the existing PLC to promote a more reflective and collaborative environment where ELA teachers could be supportive of each other in their endeavors to improve curriculum and pedagogy and students’ scholarly activity at Next Generation Elementary School (NGES). Data collection strategies included semi-structured interviews conducted with the eight teacher-participants as well as a focus group with the eight teacher-participants to debrief the data collected from the individual interviews. The interview data was coded, analyzed, and interpreted by the participant-researcher and shared with the teacher-participants who reflected on the data in a follow-up focus group to develop an Action Plan that is cyclical and iterative. Findings from the interviews and focus group indicated that the teacher-participants did not perceive their current PLC as meaningful and concluded that they needed a PLC that promoted a culture of collaboration and reflection, in a trusting environment, as they engaged in dialogue regarding student data to promote student growth in the area of ELA.

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