School leadership and professional learning community: Case study of two senior high schools in Northeast China

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    Abstract

    This article presents findings of a qualitative study on school leadership and professional learning community in two high achieving senior high schools in Northeast China. The findings show that teachers participated in school-based communities of professional learning, such as Teaching and Research Groups, Lesson Preparation Groups, and Grade Groups. While the term professional learning community (PLC) was not commonplace, the actual practices of PLC characterized by collective enquiry and collaborative learning became the norm in the two schools. School leaders demonstrated strong instructional leadership and visionary stewardship for school continuous improvement. They played a critical role in developing and communicating a shared vision, shaping a culture of trust, supporting and monitoring collegial learning. Teacher leadership was evident in collaborative teams and expertise leadership was acknowledged. Emotional bonds and shared responsibility in these teams strengthened professionalism. Concerted efforts were made to create aligned structures and processes that support collective enquiry, and to develop a culture of collaborative learning that builds collective capacities. Developing and sustaining the embedded PLC process within a school seems to provide a promising infrastructure for supporting school improvement in the Chinese school context.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)202-216
    Number of pages15
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
    Volume36
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016

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    Cite this

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    title = "School leadership and professional learning community: Case study of two senior high schools in Northeast China",
    abstract = "This article presents findings of a qualitative study on school leadership and professional learning community in two high achieving senior high schools in Northeast China. The findings show that teachers participated in school-based communities of professional learning, such as Teaching and Research Groups, Lesson Preparation Groups, and Grade Groups. While the term professional learning community (PLC) was not commonplace, the actual practices of PLC characterized by collective enquiry and collaborative learning became the norm in the two schools. School leaders demonstrated strong instructional leadership and visionary stewardship for school continuous improvement. They played a critical role in developing and communicating a shared vision, shaping a culture of trust, supporting and monitoring collegial learning. Teacher leadership was evident in collaborative teams and expertise leadership was acknowledged. Emotional bonds and shared responsibility in these teams strengthened professionalism. Concerted efforts were made to create aligned structures and processes that support collective enquiry, and to develop a culture of collaborative learning that builds collective capacities. Developing and sustaining the embedded PLC process within a school seems to provide a promising infrastructure for supporting school improvement in the Chinese school context.",
    keywords = "Chinese education, Chinese teachers, School leadership, School improvement, Professional Learning Communities, instructional leadership, distributed leadership, school improvement, Professional learning communities",
    author = "Ting WANG",
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