Presenting Lean Professional Learning Community Compilation Model
IntroductionEducation should help people to be successful, but when the educational system cannot do this effectively, such a system needs revision and reform. The traditional operation model, which used in many schools, cannot respond to needs such as creativity and flexibility, which are necessary for knowledge-oriented societies. In order to this problem, the use of decentralized and collaborative models needed and Professional learning communities approach is one of these models. In this new approach, Teachers, regional leaders, national institutions, scholars, and schools were focusing on reform efforts, and a network of schools is working together. However, as any reform, these changes deal with different barriers and challenges, and need some backgrounds and presuppositions. The aim of this study is the use of lean thinking principles to identify and eliminate the barriers and necessities, which are important in transformation of Iranian educational system to a professional learning community. Therefore, this research tries to answer the following questions:
Who is the customer in professional learning communities? In addition, how do they define customer value?
What strategies in professional learning communities are valuable?
What challenges in educational system interfere with the formation of professional learning communities?
What factors contribute the formation and function of professional learning communities?
What are the consequences of using lean thinking principals in establishment of professional learning communities?
How do these factors and their relations lead to formation of the lean professional learning communities’ model?
MethodsThis is an applied research in terms of purpose and a qualitative research in terms of data collection. So, the qualitative method and purposeful sampling in a systematic way of Grounded theory have been used to identify the main factors are necessary for change. The steps to do this study can categorize in three stages of preparatory studies, main studies, and supplementary actions. In according to these stages, after conducting preliminary studies and identifying the problem, considering the qualitative nature of the research and the principals of theoretical sampling, the purposeful sampling method used to collect required data. Data collection from three resources: semi-structured interview with 13 experts of educational administration and teachers; 10 observations of educational districts in Tehran province (According to their geographic distributions); and content analysis of 45 documents from 1997 to 2017, were continued through theoretical saturation, then the collected data were coded by MAXQDA 12. The data needed to identify the barriers for the formation of professional learning communities and some factors, which are necessary to form this educational reform, and the constituent elements of each of them, has gathered. Then the relationships between them identified and the result of different levels of data coding by researchers and MAXQDA 12 data analysis, has checked out. After data saturation, 1370 codes found in first step, classified in 239 concepts, 19 categories and 5 elements.
FindingsAccording to data analysis, education based on learners, teachers’ and stockholders’ needs is the main factor in shaping the lean professional learning community. Facilitators (culture, leadership, structure and climate) influence lPLCs processes such as collaboration, sharing, and continuous quality, and interfering factors (systematic weaknesses and professional differentiations). The intensity and weakness of these factors can cause changes in the expected outcomes of these communities. Professional conditions of teachers include concepts such as professional attitude, burnout, professional isolation, professional competition, and professional behavior. System weaknesses divided neglecting the needs of employees, the weakness of the motivation system, the weakness of professional development plans, stress, pressure and job difficulties, and centralized decision-making system.
The change of traditional and bureaucratic educational system into the collaborative one that requires the activity and dynamism of all involved educational parties can face serious barriers and challenges that have a detrimental effect on the effectiveness of educational processes. According to the research findings, the challenges of formation professional learning communities divided into systematic weaknesses and teachers’ professional conditions. Among the factors that cause systematic weaknesses, the inefficiencies of the internal and external motivational factors, and stress, tension and job difficulties because of inadequate working environment, are most important. Unfortunately, a centralized structure that leads to top-down decision making without regarding to participating others, has resulted in the ineffective use of existing intellectual capacities, which results in a lack of attention of professional concerns. The factors caused by the professional conditions of employees, which are often created and reinforced by system’s inadequate functions over the time, are strongly influenced all the processes that affect the success of professional learning communities. Regardless of professional concerns of teachers, such as the mismatch of the time and educational content, the lack of proper planning, students’ unwillingness and some other similar issues, can cause teacher’s burnout, job dissatisfaction, professional confusion and negative attitude about the job. The weakness of professional development programs in providing the professional learning needs of teachers is due to the lack of awareness of the planners of these courses in relation to the differences in the learning needs and learning styles of individuals. Different personal and professional characteristics and abilities, the position of teachers in their professional path, the behaviors that appear in the workplace and in the interaction with others, and their professional ethics, if it is not explored and encouraged by an accurate evaluation system - due to the weakness of the motivational system - leads to dissatisfaction and job burnout and weakens the spirit of participation and effort to progress in their existence. In addition to professional factors, which imply a significant part of the research findings of this group, system weakness can disrupt and reduce the performance of other parts of the system. If education is a system in which students are one of its components, educational inadequacy, inefficiency of educational content, inadequate educational environment and ineffective educational processes, make negative attitudes of students and their parents of education as a whole. If the components of the system do not feel responsible for its efficiency in achieving the goals and do not take steps to improve processes and achieve goals, then that system is doomed to fail.
Journal of School administration, Volume:7 Issue: 1, 2019
147 - 162
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