Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Professional Learning Communities Assessment: Adaptation, Internal Validity, and Multidimensional Model Testing in Turkish Context

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Professional Learning Communities Assessment: Adaptation, Internal Validity, and Multidimensional Model Testing in Turkish Context

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

The idea of professional learning communities (PLCs) has become engrained into efforts of professional development around the globe. In the United States, there has been growing interest in developing PLCs within the school settings in an attempt to measure its effect on teacher practice (e.g., Mintzes, Marcum, Messerschmidt-Yates, & Mark, 2013) and student learning (e.g., Saunders, Goldemberg, & Gallimore, 2009). Review studies have also been abundant. Dogan and Adams (2016) reviewed the empirical evidence of PLC impact on teacher practice and student learning using research evidence up to 2015 which found only 15 studies that first met an established definition of PLC and then provided evidence of change in teacher practice and/ or student learning. Fulton and Britton (2010) also reported a comprehensive literature synthesis of PLCs and their impact on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning. In addition to the findings from the previous reviews, Dogan, Pringle, and Mesa (2016) reported the positive impact of PLCs on teachers' pedagogical and disciplinary knowledge. Similarly, countries in Europe examined how PLCs are operationalized in their own school context. In England, Bolam et al. (2005) concluded that PLCs are a valuable vehicle to build school capacity for continuous improvement to student learning. In Iceland, Sigurôardóttir (2010) reported on the relationship between a school's level of effectiveness and its degree to become a PLC. In Asian countries, such as Taiwan, teachers' professional development was investigated when they were involved in PLCs (Chou, 2011). Overall, as Dogan and Adams (2016) have envisioned that PLCs have become an international approach to teachers' professional development.

Conversely, despite this rapid movement of inclusion of PLCs in schools and nations' research agendas (Dogan et al., 2016), very little systematic research has explicitly explored PLCs in Turkish school settings. Dervisogullari (2014) identified current state of PLCs using teacher views in Turkey. He found that collaboration, shared vision, and common practices are not clearly visible at the schools. Ilgan, Erdem, Cakmak, Erdogmus, and Sevinc (2011) evaluated schools to determine the extent to which they have became PLCs by adapting a "check list" to serve this purpose. As a result, they concluded that Turkish primary schools can function as PLCs. Moreover, Hunuk, Ince, and Tannehill (2012) examined the effects of PLCs on teachers' content and pedagogical content knowledge. The result of this study provided evidence for positive effects of PLCs on teaching practices and student learning. A more recent study using PLCs conducted by Kalkan (2016), she investigated the inter-relationship between PLCs, organizational trust, and bureaucratic structure in the schools, but this correlational study did not focus on the current status of PLCs in Turkish school context. Demir (2015) took advantage of PLC framework to examine relationship among trust, and teacher leadership, in which PLCs were neither focus nor a variable to be studied. As shown from above, there are only a few empirical studies in which PLCs were examined in the schools in Turkey. Furthermore, because each embraces a different definition of PLCs and were used in different contexts, such as physical education or educational administration. Most of these studies are descriptive in nature, which proves problematic in efforts to systematically identify how PLCs function within Turkish school settings.

Context

Turkey has been known by its diverging nature from other countries, influenced by both Western and Eastern educational philosophies. On the one hand, Turkey adapts innovative and Westernized educational reforms by focusing on students' active construction of their own knowledge and collaborative nature on teachers' professional development. On the other hand, Eastern-based instructional approaches, such as didactic teaching methods and traditional ways of providing teachers with professional development through "one-shot" trainings and "sit-and-get" seminars and conferences are prevalent. …

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