A descriptive study of North Carolina teachers' perceptions of professional learning communities

Mamie Ruth Monroe Allen, Fayetteville State University


This study investigated Title I elementary school teachers' perceptions of PLC factors: 1) critical elements; 2) human resources; and 3) structural conditions in relation to three teachers' demographical data: 1) age; 2) years of teaching experience; and 3) professional roles. The investigation of these specific grouping variables described how Title I elementary school teachers perceive PLCs effectiveness. The participants in this study totaled 188 which included 148 classroom teachers and forty reading specialists. Data for the participants were gathered by using a Likert scale PLC survey. This fifteen item survey had three definite domains: critical elements, human resources, and structural conditions. There was a need to gather demographic data from the participants so seven questions were added by the researcher. The research design employed a cross-sectional survey, with quantitative methodology, which included percentages, weighted mean, and the Statistical Practices for Social Sciences (SPSS) Program to analyze the data using a Kruskal-Wallis test. This non-parametric test examined the data to reveal any statistically significant difference among the different groups. The results of the findings indicated that based on age and years of experience, Title I elementary school teachers generally perceived PLCs as being effective, mainly in these PLC characteristics: collaboration, supportive leadership, socialization, time to meet and talk, physical proximity, teacher empowerment, trust and respect, and cognitive and skills very significantly with age of the teacher as well as the years of teaching experience characteristics. However, the findings indicated that teachers' perceptions towards PLC factors in relation to teachers' professional roles registered a no statistically significant difference. The implications from the study are that PLCs are effective in eliminating teacher isolation through promoting more communication structures in schools. Developing PLCs in Title I elementary schools, specifically increases collaboration and teacher involvement in the decision making process of schools because many aspects of the collaboration and decision making process have a ripple effect. Further, a major implication was that PLCs hold a critical element to effective collaboration and cooperation.

Subject Area

Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Allen, Mamie Ruth Monroe, "A descriptive study of North Carolina teachers' perceptions of professional learning communities" (2012). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI3581422.