First Advisor

Micki M. Caskey

Term of Graduation

Spring 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Professional learning communities, Reflective teaching, Teachers -- Attitudes, Effective teaching



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 169 pages)


In a culturally diverse world, teachers adopt complex roles to educate a changing student body toward higher standards. They can respond to students' needs and design responsive curriculum by engaging in ongoing learning and improvement. When teachers have time and space for collaboration and reflection, they can learn and improve. Professional learning communities (PLCs) are forums for educators to think deeply about praxis. In this study, the problem of practice is that teachers have had few opportunities to reflect critically within PLCs. The purpose of my study was to describe and explain how critical reflection occurred in an equity-focused PLC within a suburban high school. With situated and transformative learning as a theoretical framework, I conducted a qualitative, collective case study design to explore how three high school teachers' reflections, efficacy beliefs, and practice changed over time. Data sources were surveys, written reflections, and interviews and data analysis included within case analysis and cross-case analysis. Based on my analysis, I identified three themes: (a) teachers feel frustration when PLCs lack structure and reflection, (b) teachers want more productive PLCs, and (c) teachers prefer Critical Friends Groups (CFG) community. To optimize teacher learning, I recommended adjusting policies to fund the more productive and reflective version of PLCs--Critical Friends Groups.


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