Masters Thesis

Perceptions and expectations of teachers on the benefits and limitations of professional learning communities

A significant concern in some schools may be the implementation without complete fidelity of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Research has shown that PLCs, if implemented with full fidelity, is one approach that may reduce teacher isolation and increase student achievement. This study investigated perceptions and experiences of high school teachers on the benefits and limitations of professional learning communities. Participants were interviewed individually using questions developed by this researcher regarding experiences and perceptions of PLCs. The participants were high school teachers who have experience with the implementation of PLCs at their site. The responses were analyzed using a color-coding process. Common themes identified from respondents were that PLCs influenced their teaching practices through the analysis of data and use of instructional strategies; the implementation of PLCs have a positive impact on school climate; and there is a need to provide more time and opportunities for all teachers to collaborate, and to address the fear of reduced teacher autonomy and freedom.