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Assisting New Teacher Integration Into Professional Learning Communities

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Research papers are a pairing of two 18 minute presentations followed by 18 minutes of Discussion led by a Discussant, with remaining time for Q & A.
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Dr. Nicole Forrest  

Learn how new teachers can be integrated into PLCs. A research project offered new teachers a research-based, asynchronous and synchronous course that taught them how to contribute to and get the most out of PLCs. Learn strategies to take back to your schools.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Topic: Professional learning
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Inservice teacher education, Preservice teacher education
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Empower educators to exercise professional agency, build teacher leadership skills and pursue personalized professional learning.
  • Inspire a culture of innovation and collaboration that allows the time and space to explore and experiment with digital tools.
Systems Designer
  • Lead teams to collaboratively establish robust infrastructure and systems needed to implement the strategic plan.

Proposal summary

Framework

I designed the Professional Learning Community-Orientation Modules (PLC-OM) considering sociocultural theory, social cognitive theory, communities of practice and supporting literature on NT retention and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The theory and previous research guided my study and interpretation of the data.

Methods

This mixed-methods action research study included a total of 18 participants from elementary, middle, and high school. The study was voluntary and I presented at the new teacher induction at my district to elicit participants. The PLC-OM was implemented over a 13-week period with participants engaging in asynchronous and synchronous activities through Schoology. Participants completed three surveys and various pieces of qualitative data including Flipgrid introductions, discussion board responses, reflections, focus-group interviews, and virtual synchronous meetings. Quantitative data was analyzed through descriptive statistics and a one-sample t-test while the qualitative data was analyzed using a grounded theory approach.

Results

Results suggested that the PLC-OM was helpful for NTs and contributed to an increase in self-efficacy for PLCs and as NTs. NTs showed an increase in knowledge of PLCs and their PLC skills including interpersonal skills. Additionally, the PLC-OM positively influenced NTs’ attitudes toward PLCs and their abilities as NTs. This presentation would detail how the PLC-OM encouraged these positive results and propose that K-12 schools implement a similar innovation to support NT integration into PLCs.

Importance

PLCs are powerful networks for teachers and have been shown to benefit and improve student outcomes. New teachers have also been shown to be a vulnerable group as they leave the field of teaching or their schools at staggering rates. My research was designed to explore how school leaders can support new teacher integration into PLCs so that the exodus of teachers from the field could perhaps decrease as PLCs can encourage connection and relationships between teachers both of which are shown to prevent attrition.

References

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Dr. Nicole Forrest, West Chester Area School District

Nicole Forrest currently serves as an assistant principal at W.C. East High School where she started her administrative career five years ago. Previously, she spent seven years as an English teacher in secondary and post-secondary settings. Nicole’s doctoral work focused on instituting an innovation that assists new teachers with integrating into professional learning communities (PLCs). Her research interests center on professional learning communities, new teacher development, innovation, professional development, and school culture. You can follow her on Twitter @nicoleeducator or send her an email: nforrest@wcasd.net.

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