Collabration in professional learning communities and development of teacher efficacy and trust in Alabama schools
Collaboration in Professional Learning Communities and development of teacher efficacy and trust in Alabama schools was studied. The purpose of the study was to examine how Professional Learning Communities are used in North Alabama schools to foster collaboration and to develop teacher efficacy and trust within school settings. The participants in the study were kindergarten through fifth grade educators employed in North Central Alabama schools. The methodology consisted of the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), a survey by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001) and researcher-developed interviews. The surveys were used to identify patterns and themes about teachers’ beliefs. Purposeful interviews were conducted to assess the perceived levels of trust and effectiveness gained as a result of participating in collaborative activities. Data from the Teachers Sense of Efficacy Scale, a survey used to assess teacher efficacy in student engagement, teacher efficacy in instructional strategies, and teacher efficacy in classroom management, were analyzed and paired with themes that emerged from interviews surrounding the establishment of trust. Interviewees viewed these emerging themes as being a result of their participation in collaborative activities in professional development settings. Results indicated that teachers who were involved in ongoing, job-embedded professional development centered on dialogue and collaboration reported a higher sense of efficacy and were more willing participants in dialogue on teaching and learning in perceived risky environments.