CE  Vol.5 No.11 , June 2014
Whatever It Takes! Developing Professional Learning Communities in Primary School Mathematics Education
ABSTRACT

In recognising the need to develop skills in numeracy teaching in a regional primary school, this paper examines a case study of one school response. The Principal of the school instigated the development of professional learning communities, to assist all the teachers, who are not numeracy specialists, to develop appropriate classroom skills. This study describes the early stages of this development, using the beginning of a planned action research approach to reflect on the processes and success of the development. Through staff feedback and participant observation, a general satisfaction with the process and its outcomes is recorded. A benchmarking exercise against a published case study in an American middle school setting identifies where that success originates from—the adoption and articulation of key concepts and principles, the role of deliberative leadership, the creation of a safe working environment, and a number of practices considered crucial to the success of professional learning communities. However, the benchmarking exercise also identifies weaknesses in the case study, which helps explain some misgivings that some staff express about the process, in particular a default assumption about staff recruitment, and a weakness of managing time to account for existing staff time demands.


Cite this paper
Chaseling, M. , Boyd, W. , Robson, K. and Brown, L. (2014) Whatever It Takes! Developing Professional Learning Communities in Primary School Mathematics Education. Creative Education, 5, 864-876. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.511100.
References
[1]   ACARA (2012). NAPLAN National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy. Sydney: Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. http://www.naplan.edu.au/

[2]   ACEL (2011). ACEL: Inspiring Educational Leaders. Australian Council for Educational Leaders.
http://www.acelleadership.org.au/

[3]   Boyd, W. E., & Newton, D. (2011). Times of Change, Times of Turbulence: Seeking an Ethical Framework for Curriculum Development during Critical Transition in Higher Education. International Journal of Cyber Ethics in Education, 1, 1-11.
http://www.igi-global.com/article/times-change-times-turbulence/56104
http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/ijcee.2011070101


[4]   Boyd, W. E., Healey, R. L., Hardwick, S. W., & Haigh, M. (with contributions from Klein, P., Doran, B., Trafford, J., & Bradbeer, J.) (2008). “None of Us Sets out to Hurt People”: The Ethical Geographer and Geography Curricula in Higher Education. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 32, 37-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03098260701731462

[5]   Brown, L., & Coles, A. (2010). Mathematics Teacher and Mathematics Teacher Educator Change—Insight through Theoretical Perspectives. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13, 375-382.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10857-010-9159-3

[6]   Creswell, J. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

[7]   DEEWR (2011). Improving Teacher Quality. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

[8]   Den Exter, K., Rowe, S., Boyd, W., & Lloyd, D. (2012). Using Web 2.0 Technologies for Collaborative Learning in Distance Education—Case Studies from an Australian University. Future Internet, 4, 216-237.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/fi4010216

[9]   DET (2009). Count Me in Too: Assessment: The SENA Assesses the Following Aspects of the Learning Framework in Number. Sydney: Department of Education and Training.
http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/countmein/assesment.html

[10]   DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.

[11]   DuFour, R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2010). Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

[12]   Fullan, M. (1982). The Meaning of Educational Change. Toronto, ON: The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

[13]   Fullan, M. (2007). The New Meaning of Educational Change (4th ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

[14]   Goos, M. (2008). Sociocultural Perspectives on Learning to Teach Mathematics. In B. Jaworski, & T. Wood (Eds.), International Handbook of Mathematics Teacher Education. Volume 4: The Mathematics Teacher as a Developing Professional (pp. 75-91). Rotterdam: Sense.

[15]   Goos, M. (2009). Investigating the Professional Learning and Development of Mathematics Teacher Educators: A Theoretical Discussion and Research Agenda. In R. Hunter, B. Bicknell, & T. Burgess (Eds.), Crossing Divides: Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (Vol. 1, pp. 209-216). Palmerston North, NZ: MERGA.

[16]   HCWG (2008). National Numeracy Review Report. Human Capital Working Group, Council of Australian Governments, Canberra. http://www.coag.gov.au/sites/default/files/national_numeracy_review.pdf

[17]   Jaworski, B. (2008). Building and Sustaining Inquiry Communities in Mathematics Teaching Development: Teachers and Didacticians in Collaboration. In K. Krainer, & T. Wood (Eds.), International Handbook of Mathematics Teacher Education. Volume 3: Participants in Mathematics Teacher Education: Individuals, Teams, Communities and Networks (pp. 309-330). Rotterdam: Sense.

[18]   Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2012). Educational Research (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

[19]   Koellner, K., Jacobs, J., & Borko, H. (2011). Mathematics Professional Development: Critical Features for Developing Leadership Skills and Building Teachers’ Capacity. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 13, 115-136.

[20]   Lloyd, G. M. (2013). The Ongoing Development of Mathematics Teachers’ Knowledge and Practice: Considering Possibilities, Complexities, and Measures of Teacher Learning. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 16, 161-164.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10857-013-9239-2

[21]   Schmoker, M. (2005). No Turning Back: The Ironclad Case for Professional Learning Communities. In R. DuFour, & R. DuFour (Eds.), On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities (pp. 135-154). Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.

[22]   Stiggins, R. (2005). Assessment FOR Learning: Building a Culture of Confident Learners. In R. DuFour, & R. DuFour (Eds.), On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities (pp. 65-84). Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.

[23]   Thomson, S., De Bortoli, L., Nicholas, M., Hillman, K., & Buckley, S. (2011). Challenges for Australian Education: Results from PISA 2009. The PISA 2009 Assessment of Students’ Reading, Mathematical and Scientific Literacy. Programme for International Student Assessment, Australian Council for Education Research, Camberwell.
http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/PISA-Report-2009.pdf

[24]   Thornton, P., Phelps, R., & Graham, A. (2011). Teacher Leaders Driving Change: An “In-House Inquiry” Process. The Australian Educational Leader, 33, 8-13.

[25]   Yin, R. K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

 
 
Top