Using professional learning communities to improve school success among students from disadvantaged backgrounds



"We have a much better understanding of the scope of working in a PLC (professional learning community), and the considerable benefits to be gained.

We know now that it's a change of paradigm. Once the process is underway, there's no going back!" This is how one participant described the experience of being a part of this research project, which was conducted with a group from Adult General Education and another from Secondary Special Education.

The teachers involved in the study improved their knowledge and ability to teach reading skills.

A summary of the results is presented in the form of answers to the following three research questions:

  • How do professional learning communities develop in Secondary Special Education and in Adult General Education?
  • What changes can be observed in the teachers?
  • What impact does this method of functioning have on student success?

Our findings indicate that the teachers involved in the study improved their knowledge and ability to teach reading skills and were better able to select high-level interventions to prioritize in the classroom, which had a positive impact on students.

The benefits of this study will encourage schools to see professional learning communities as a preferred extended learning model for teaching staff.

However, as the development of a PLC is strongly context-dependent, it is essential to take into account the specific characteristics of each organization in order to provide the support needed for its implementation. School teams interested in developing a PLC will find this research useful in targeting the questions that need to be answered, in particular those relating to organizational structure.

Main researcher

Martine Leclerc, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Summary

Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: May 2015