Date of Award





Doctor of Education

Degree Type

Degree of Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership


Teacher Education

First Advisor

Robert Waller, Ed. D.

Second Advisor

Richard Rogers, Ed. D.

Third Advisor

Mary Hendricks, Ed. D.


Professional learning communities (PLCs) have undergone decades of research as an improvement strategy for schools. PLCs are known to foster a collaborative culture among educators through shared learning. Teachers can improve their effectiveness by strengthening their pedagogical practices, which will have a positive impact on student achievement. The purpose of this bounded case study was to examine how Title I elementary school teachers who participated in a PLC perceived PLCs and their effectiveness on improving teacher learning. The goal was to gather teachers’ insights and experiences of PLCs to provide state, district, and school leaders with an understanding of how to build effective learning structures that will enhance teacher learning. Data collection was from 18 elementary school teachers in a Northwestern Georgia school district who had participated in PLCs for 2 years or more. The types of data included focus group interviews, direct observations of PLCs, and a document analysis. Open coding occurred throughout data collection, with second-cycle focused coding subsequently employed. Six themes emerged through data analysis to answer the study’s two research questions. The case study design enabled the researcher to capture a narrative about teachers’ participation in PLCs and their perceived impact on teacher learning. Teachers who frequently engage in collaboration and reflective practices were key components for improving teacher learning.

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