The effectiveness of professional learning communities in promoting educational learning as perceived by Texas high school principals
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Teaching in the 21st century requires the search for new and ongoing innovative practices. Such emerging practices in the field of teaching are reshaping the everyday normalities of how educators used to teach in the past. The Professional Learning Community (PLC) model is an emerging educational innovation and is considered as a powerful strategy for sustaining substantial school improvement. The purpose of the study was to examine the perceptions of Texas high school principals regarding the importance and effectiveness of the PLC model as an educational innovation for the development of school leadership, teacher self-efficacy, student achievement, and school success. The Professional Learning Community Questionnaire (PLCQ) was used for the purpose of data collection. A total of 98 high school principals from rural, urban, and suburban districts throughout the state of Texas participated in the study. A typical principal was 48 years old, had 23 years of experience in education, and nine years as a campus principal. Respondents were predominately white, male, held graduate degrees, and had prior experience with the PLC model. The results showed that the high school principals, regardless of various demographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, ethnicity, community type, education level, prior PLC experience, years of experience in education, and years as a campus principal) found the constructs of school leadership, teacher self-efficacy, student achievement, and school improvement quite important in everyday operation of their high schools and that the PLCs could be effective in influencing them. As a result of the study’s findings, it is anticipated that school principals may be able to predetermine whether they desire to embark on the efforts and time it takes to reach school success by fostering a new style of collaborative engagement such as the tenets of the PLCs. Additionally, the results may provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of the PLCs in developing school leadership among teachers and staff, enhancing teacher self-efficacy, increasing student achievement, and improving school success. A trustworthy relationship within a school community ought to be sought and attained before embarking on PLCs, without which, the initiative will likely fail to serve its purpose.
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