Journal article

Professional learning communities: building skills, reinvigorating the passion, and nurturing teacher wellbeing and "flourishing" within significantly innovative schooling contexts

Learning and teaching Educational innovations

Student-driven “deep learning”, teachers as “coaches” and “activators of learning” and positive student–teacher relationships are all part of the changing and significantly innovative educational landscape which requires considerable pedagogical change in teaching and learning processes. Teacher professional learning communities (PLCs) have been recognised as highly effective in supporting teachers in changing their beliefs and practices. There is considerable agreement about the characteristics of PLCs and there seem to be links with positive psychology’s wellbeing and “flourishing” key concepts although there has been little research undertaken about this. The current research aims to explore these connections using case studies of three significantly innovative schools, with research methods including document study, surveys, interviews and focus groups. Research findings and data analysis undertaken highlight the PLC characteristics and positive psychology connections. The paper concludes by highlighting the benefits for schools and education systems of developing a greater understanding of PLCs, through using the lens of positive psychology. Through positive psychology elements such as nurturing positive emotion and a greater sense of purpose for teachers within PLCs, there are benefits for teacher professional learning but also potentially for student learning and wellbeing.

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