The drive to improve : a quantitative study of the relationship between professional learning communities and teacher motivation
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This paper explored the perceived level of Professional Learning Community (PLC) implementation in secondary schools in Missouri who participate in the State Professional Learning Communities Project (PLCP) based upon a quantitative survey given to teachers. The components studied were derived from the work of Oliver, Hipp, and Huffman (2003) and further refined by Guerin (2008). It also quantitatively explored teachers' self-perceived level of motivation when viewed through Pink's (2009) conceptual framework of intrinsic motivation which includes autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Finally, the research looked for correlations between the perceived implementation of PLC components and teacher motivation and used multiple regression techniques to determine a predictive model to show which component of PLCs can be expected to produce the highest levels of teacher motivation. The research determined that teachers who participated in the study rated the PLC components of Supportive Conditions--Structures the highest and Shared Personal Practice the lowest based upon their mean scores. The motivational factors of mastery and purpose were rated similarly while autonomy was determined to be significantly lower. Correlational analysis determined that the PLC component of Supportive Conditions--Relationships was most highly correlated with each of the motivational subscales. Further, Supportive Conditions--Relationships was also found in each of the regression models used to predict autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These findings support previous research related to the decreasing levels of autonomy found in the education profession. Further, the significance of professional relationships was supported by this research. School leaders could interpret these findings as evidence for the importance of allowing teachers choice (autonomy) when possible in order to facilitate their level of motivation. One could also interpret the results of this study as an indication to spend the necessary time to invest in professional relation
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