Organization and Leadership Supports That Promote Teacher Collective Learning at the School Level: A Case
thesisposted on 2014-10-28, 00:00 authored by Franklin K. Chang
This case study focuses on one comprehensive high school’s effective organizational support for teacher collaborative learning processes as a route to improving teaching practices for student success. The current research on teacher learning speaks to individualized learning opportunities as well as collective teacher learning models of various kinds, often framed as “professional learning communities” or PLCs. What is limited in the existing research are specific descriptions of the qualities and structures of high functioning school-wide collective teacher learning communities. This single-school in-depth case study looks at how school leaders support an organizational structure of a successful school wide PLC in a comprehensive high school to help promote improved student learning. The comprehensive case study started with a year-long observation of the school-wide PLC structure with particular attention to the English division PLC, a comprehensive review of school and district data and artifacts, structured interviews with teachers and school leaders, and an in-depth teacher survey. Findings include that the structured collective teacher learning is an intentional process developed ten years ago with the English division. The study found that this collective teacher learning process promotes consistency, coherence and collaboration that may be contributive over time to consistently high student academic growth as measured by the EPAS series of standardized assessments. The adult learning process began with the restructuring of content curriculum and infused the curriculum revision with skill-based instruction. Through the sharing of strategies in the PLC, teachers regularly shift the focus from teaching content to teaching students critical thinking skills. Teachers themselves believe that the end result has been their ability to promote a culture of learning and the building of students’ academic knowledge and skills.