Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Jon Pedersen. Lincoln, Nebraska: October, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Dan Carpenter


The purpose of this reputation-based, multiple-site case study was to explore professional learning communities’ impact on teacher classroom practice. The goal of this research was to describe the administrator and teachers’ perceptions with respect to professional learning communities as it related to teacher practice in their school. Educators and administrators were asked what types of practices teachers took from collaborative professional learning communities and tried in their classrooms.

This reputation-based, multiple-site case study was important to Nebraska educators because many school districts had implemented professional learning communities in a variety of forms in the schools. There had been little, if any, investigation on what impact professional learning communities have had on teacher practice and the extent to which that had impacted students.

This study focused on the teachers’ perceptions of the impact professional learning communities had on their pedagogical practice as a result of collaboration and interactions in professional learning communities. This study involved three schools in one Midwestern school district. The schools and district had operated professional learning communities for 6 years. The researcher found that professional learning communities had impacted teacher practice in that teachers had changed what they do from a pedagogical standpoint, as a result of interactions and collaboration in professional learning communities. The extent to which teacher pedagogical practice had been impacted is open to judgment. The fact that teachers had positively changed their pedagogy as a result of professional learning community function, including collaboration and interactions in professional learning community groups, is not open to judgment, as that is the primary finding of this study.

Advisor: Jon Pedersen