The professional learning community as perceived by Israeli school superintendents, principals and teachers

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A professional learning community (PLC) facilitates collaborative learning among colleagues at all levels in their common working environment. PLCs are particularly useful in schools, with teachers and principals meeting regularly to solve problems relating to teaching and learning. Being a means of improving student achievement, PLCs have received growing support from researchers and practitioners alike, yet some professionals are still exploring ways to develop learning networks focusing on teaching and learning issues. The purpose of this study was to examine Israeli teachers', principals', and superintendents' perceptions of inhibiting and fostering factors of the PLC. In this qualitative, topic-oriented study, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 15 teachers from elementary, middle and secondary schools and their respective principals (15) and superintendents (15). Generating themes was inductive, grounded in the perspectives articulated by participants. The principals and the teachers indicated that overload, a lack of resources and top-down commands were PLC-inhibiting factors. The superintendents saw the principal's leadership style as a main PLC-fostering factor. Understanding how these three echelons in the school system perceive the inhibiting and fostering factors of a PLC could indicate whether and how this collaborative learning process can be nurtured and sustained in schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-734
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Collaborative learning
  • Israel
  • Professional development
  • Professional learning community


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