Date of Award

Winter 2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Education

First Advisor

Rideout, Glenn

Keywords

Education, Facilitative structures, Learning community, Professional learning communities, Shared and supportive leadership, Teacher self-efficacy

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

High levels of teacher self-efficacy have repeatedly been identified as a key attribute of effective teachers. The problems addressed by this study stem from the lack of research regarding the potential relationships between teachers' self-efficacy and professional learning community (PLC) variables. Uncovering these relationships could potentially have many implications for University curriculum and the planning of professional growth opportunities for teachers. This study explored the predictive capacity of the six pillars of professional learning community in relation to participating Ontario teachers' self-efficacy, measured through their Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scores (TSES). Correlation analyses and multiple regression analyses suggested that professional learning community variables related significantly with levels of teacher self-efficacy. Shared and Supportive Leadership and Supportive Conditions: Structures appeared to be two components of effective PLCs that correlated significantly with teacher self-efficacy. These results prompted additional, more focused exploration of the specific characteristics and conditions that exist within school PLCs that are associated with elevated teacher self-efficacy. Correlation analysis results were further considered in order to identify areas that required further examination. ANOVAs were conducted to explore the relationship between various PLC characteristics and conditions and teacher self-efficacy. In addition, a factor analysis pointed to three key factors that link professional learning communities to teacher self-efficacy. The findings of this study suggest that implementing a shared leadership approach and embedding facilitative structures that promote collaborative learning could increase teacher self-efficacy. In addition, administrators might consider providing teachers with the necessary supports so that they are empowered to work autonomously. Remaining vigilant in clearly focusing learning community meetings on the professional learning of the participants and incorporating coaching practices along with other structures to enrich teacher dialogue are also explored.

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