In the Crucible of a Professional Learning Community: Becoming a Highly Effective Teacher in Challenging Contexts
Keywords:ELT in the Gulf, professional learning community, student achievement, synergy, teacher professional development
Despite evidence for the established role of a professional learning community in supporting teacher professional learning and development, it is still among the most under-utilized resources available to teachers. The current study in a major educational institution in the Gulf sets an example for establishing professional learning communities (PLCs) in unusually challenging academic contexts. These contexts often lack support from the administration for teacher professional learning and development, and there is minimal collaboration among colleagues. While synthesizing ideas from mainstream literature and social psychology, the study expands the conceptual base for establishing PLCs and offers a strategic vision for developing highly effective teachers through participation in a synergistic PLC. Following Interpretive Research Paradigm, the study employed ethnographic research methodology to understand how the participants in the study describe themselves and their actions as well as their interactions with others. Based on a thematic analysis conducted using NVivo software, the findings suggest that goal-oriented collaboration of teachers in a PLC, where empathy, maturity, and abundance mentality are practised, can prepare teachers for professional excellence, leading to significant improvements in student learning and achievement.
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