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· Volume III Issue I


This study looked into the lived experiences of junior and senior teachers in Cluster 3 Division of Calamba City in sustaining Professional Learning Communities in school. The research design used was qualitative with phenomenology as an approach. Using the interpretative phenomenological approach, the study described the experiences of teachers and principals in sustaining PLCs in their schools. The study generated ten themes which included the following: Roles of Participants in a PLC; Different Activities in a PLC; Means of Connecting with Other Participants in a PLC; Disputes Experiences by Participants in a PLC; Coping Mechanisms of Participants in Dealing with a PLC; Changes Observed by the Participants in a PLC; Participants’ Assessments of their Leadership Abilities; Other Kinds of Support Participants Need from the Authorities; Other Factors that Sustain a PLC in a School and lastly, Participants’ Suggestions on How to Make a PLC More Sustainable. The participants of the study were composed of 6 junior and 6 senior teachers, and 3 principals with a total number of 15. Interviews, video and audio recordings, and field notes were employed for data gathering. Data were presented and analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis (IPA). The experiences of teachers and principals in sustaining PLCs reflected the various roles they had to play, the challenges they faced, and how they were able to hurdle them. The study proved that a PLC in a school is a welcome alternative to any traditional teacher development programs. The findings revealed that teachers and principals have to practice shared leadership and establish a collaborative relationship for a more effective and meaningful professional learning community. Thus, the researcher came up with an output of the study, which is the anthology of best practices of strategies and techniques for teachers and school heads.


It is common knowledge that school heads play an indispensable role in the professional development of educators. In the country, school heads encourage teachers to participate in the traditional and common approaches to professional development (short duration conferences, seminars, workshops, training, school in-service programs, and presentations by outside experts). But it has been observed that since 1999 (Capili-Balbalin, 2017), despite of the reported benefits of these traditional models of professional development to educators, various studies here and abroad have demonstrated that a great number of teachers find them redundant, insufficient, ineffective, inconsistent, and sometimes do not essentially address teachers’ and students’ classroom needs. Gaspar (2010 as cited in Cicih and Saud, 2019) affirmed these findings: historically, professional development programs have had a little positive impact on teachers’ instructional practice or student achievement in schools. However, many instructors continue to experience such programs which are just meant to respond to government mandates that call for multiple improvements under unrealistic timelines. They are driven by the latest instructional innovations or fads with no attempt to link them to each other or long-term, coherent school improvement plans or goals.  Educators are allotted a short time for practice, reflection, and professional dialogue. There are few opportunities for follow-up and little accountability for classroom implementation.  These fragmented efforts compromise the credibility and sustainability of professional development and do not contribute to meaningful, relevant, and sustained professional growth. 

This study was brought to fruition due to the scarcity of studies on Professional Learning Communities among the basic education schools in the Philippine provinces.  Moreover, a few, mostly qualitative studies, have described the emergence and early development of these collegial organizations but fewer still have specifically addressed the roles, responsibilities, and behaviors of school leaders and their teachers as they initiate and develop learning communities in their schools. Lastly, few studies have challenged leadership actions that are requisite for initiating, supporting, and sustaining effective professional learning communities in schools. Further research is needed to inform the practice of school leaders and their teachers who wish to create or sustain professional learning communities within their organizations.  Thus, the researcher deemed it necessary to conduct this research and hopefully contribute to the growing literature on the subject.

At this juncture, the researcher presents the specific concerns of her study that focused on constructing opportunities for educators to learn in professional learning communities and to help sustain them, especially for junior (neo) and senior (pro) teachers which the current researcher would like to do in Cluster 3 Calamba City.   This study aimed to describe and explain the lived experiences of new and experienced teachers in helping sustain a more effective and meaningful PLC through their involvement in its activities. Their shared experiences will be examined for patterns of cultivated leadership and increased social, human, and professional capital.

Theoretical Framework

This study was anchored on Dr. Sandra L. Bloom’s (1985) Four Pillars, Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura (Cullata, 2020), and the Generational Theory by Graeme Codrington and Sue Grant-Marshall (Fica, 2019).

Bloom’s four pillars are essential for what experience says is required to actually "create community": shared knowledge, shared values, shared language, and shared practice. And together, they have to envision what they want to achieve as a whole group. 

In creating a community, it needs a set of interactive tools to change people’s mind and the way they go about working together, thinking together, acting together, and living together. As an organization, it is very important to develop the structures, processes, and behaviors of the employees, clients, and the community as a whole that can create and sustain nonviolent lives and nonviolent systems and to keep believing in the unexplored possibilities of peace and well-being for all of humanity.

Another theory wherein this study is anchored on is the Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura (Cullata, 2020). It explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences. It gives an idea of an effective leader by being a good model and also a good follower. Bandura (1997 as cited in Cullata, 2020) emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions, this coded information serves as a guide for action. 

The Generational Cohort Theory by Graeme Codrington and Sue Grant-Marshall (Fica, 2019) demonstrates that various traits, such as loyalty to organizations, vary across the generations. Some of these studies are cross-sectional, like examining different generations such as New Teachers and Experienced Teachers at the same time. Any differences across the generations, therefore, could be ascribed to age instead, and this study may include beginning and experienced teachers’ concerns to managing classroom behavior, dealing with time constraints and workload, parent interactions, and academic preparation.  

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