About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4044-4048
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1897

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

THE POTENTIAL OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AS A LEVER FOR PROMOTING SYSTEMIC CHANGE

S. Naicker, S. Ebrahim

University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
There is a need in South Africa to find ways of improving teacher quality due to the continuously poor performance of learners in national and international standardised tests in Mathematics and English. In this study we explore the concept of professional learning communities as a potential lever for improving teacher quality towards systemic change. Professional learning communities can be understood as a collective of professionals, such as teachers, coming together for sharing knowledge and skills. Systemic change is a process where changes must be made to all parts of the system simultaneously in order for the system to transform from one paradigm to another. Using a multiple case study we investigated four cases of professional learning communities at the level of the school district. These professional learning communities across schools were subject based, including a Mathematics and English professional learning community comprising teachers of various primary schools.The study was framed by systems theory which gives primacy to the interconnectedness and interdependence of the elements in a system, as well as the evolutionary nature of a system. It was found that professional learning communities are in the very early stages of development in South African school districts in the Gauteng region. Findings further revealed that teachers experienced that being a part of a professional learning community was valuable in that it enabled collaboration, networking, professional growth and communication of information among teachers. Threats to successful professional learning communities were time to meet, teacher workload and teacher's lack of knowledge and interest in professional learning communities. It is recommended that greater teacher awareness about the benefits of professional learning communities is promoted by the Department of Education. Furthermore, structures need to be put into place to afford teachers more opportunities for cross-school collaboration. It is argued that professional learning communities can play a pivotal role in systemic change, however, the concept of professional learning communities remains dormant. Teachers in South Africa need to be awakened to the powerful leverage that professional learning communities can unleash in promoting teacher quality in the education system.
@InProceedings{NAICKER2018POT,
author = {Naicker, S. and Ebrahim, S.},
title = {THE POTENTIAL OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AS A LEVER FOR PROMOTING SYSTEMIC CHANGE},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1897},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1897},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {4044-4048}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Naicker AU - S. Ebrahim
TI - THE POTENTIAL OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AS A LEVER FOR PROMOTING SYSTEMIC CHANGE
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1897
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 4044
EP - 4048
ER -
S. Naicker, S. Ebrahim (2018) THE POTENTIAL OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AS A LEVER FOR PROMOTING SYSTEMIC CHANGE, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 4044-4048.
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