Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OFNdeye Helene Oumou Diack, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum & Instruction, presented on October 23rd, 2019, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.TITLE: ADDRESSING THE CRITICAL STEPS OF BUILDING A CULTURE OF COLLABORATION IN A PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY (PLC): A CASE STUDYMAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. John McIntyre This case study examined PLC leaders and team members during their first year setting up their PLC collaborative process. It investigated the PLC design and activities, the team members lived experiences during the setting up of the PLC, and its impact on members’ interpersonal relationships and also their personal and professional growth. I collected the data by means of observations of team meetings, PLC documents analysis, an interview of an administrator, and a focus group of a team of three Caucasian American female experienced elementary teachers. The research took place in a school district at a semi-rural Midwestern town in the USA during the 2018-2019 school year. DuFour et al. (2016) model of a PLC provided the main framework for the study that took into account Situated Learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and Social Constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978). The findings showed that despite hindrances due to the design process, accountability measures of school improvement reporting weights, and the individual PLC members’ personalities, the team members I studied, unlike some other teams in the building, were doing a great collaborative work. They were driven by collective commitment to the PLC mission, values, visions and goals. They showed resiliency that is strengthened by mutual trust, mutual support, mutual respect, and protection for each other. They had a high level of dedication to improve their students’ achievements by means of common formative assessment of their academic and behavioral issues, intervention plans to address issues, and a very rigorous benchmarking of collectively designed instructional units. Vulnerability of both administrators and team members were evidenced, and the limitations of the study, recommendations for improvement, and implication for Policy Makers, as well as directions for future research are provided.
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