The Development of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in the Philippines: Roles and Views of Secondary School Principals
Capili-Balbalin, W. (2017). The Development of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in the Philippines: Roles and Views of Secondary School Principals (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/11327
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/11327
It is widely recognised that principals play an indispensable role in the professional development of teachers in schools. In the Philippines, principals encourage teachers to participate in the traditional and most common approach to professional development such as conferences, seminars, workshops, and training. Despite documented benefits of these traditional approaches to teacher professional development, recent studies show that many teachers find them insufficient, inconsistent, and sometimes they do not necessarily address teachers’ classroom needs. There is a growing body of literature that recognises the importance of teacher engagement through professional learning communities (PLCs) as a new approach to teacher professional development. Unlike traditional approaches to teacher professional development, PLCs redefine professional development from programmes that regard teachers as passive learners to programmes that regard teachers as active learners who are responsible for their own professional growth. The study explored the roles and perspectives of secondary school principals in the development of PLCs in the Philippines. It is an underlying assumption that principals’ understanding of their roles in the implementation of teacher professional development policies in schools is central to the formation of PLCs. This raised two important questions that principals needed to contemplate: How did they view and implement national policies on teacher professional development in the school level? And, how did they perceive and establish PLCs in their schools? The study utilised a qualitative research methodology based on an interpretive paradigm. Through the use of semi-structured interviews alongside policy analysis, three main themes emerged: lack of continuing teacher professional development programmes in the Philippines; varying views of principals in the development of PLCs in schools; and, effective leadership styles as key to support continuing professional development of teachers. The lack of continuing teacher professional development programmes suggests that principals in the study failed to establish PLCs in their schools. This offers some important insights on the leadership experiences of principals in the implementation of national policies on professional development and how it affects their roles in supporting teachers’ continuing professional development. The study also reinforces theories around strong influence of school leadership in the formation of PLCs, particularly in developing countries such as the Philippines. This is an important issue for future work, as top-down leadership continuously predominates in school organisations in the Philippines. Further work is recommended to investigate the implications of this for the confidence level of principals in their leadership in the context of secondary schools in the Philippines.
University of Waikato
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