Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. David Lee

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rose McNeese

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 4

Dr. Thelma Roberson

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The United States of America used to have the best high school graduation rate in the world. However, by 2006, the U. S. was ranked 18 out of 26 among industrialized nations (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2010) with three out of every ten public school students failing to complete high school with a diploma (DuFour and Marzano, 2011). This urgent, pressing issue warrants continuing research to discover what does and does not work in educating our children. Numerous empirical and scientifically-based research studies continue to show the validity of several teaching methods; one such strategy is cooperative learning, a variety of collaborative learning. However, research is starting to reveal that collaborative learning is not being utilized in today’s classrooms. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a significant relationship between the use of collaborative learning by elementary classroom teachers and participating in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), teacher efficacy, knowledge of collaborative learning, and perceived barriers to implementation of collaborative learning. A questionnaire was completed by kindergarten through sixth grade teachers from elementary schools located in two southern Gulf Coast states. The questionnaire consisted of five parts: utilization of collaborative learning, participation in professional learning communities, teacher efficacy, knowledge of collaborative learning, and perceived barriers. Data were analyzed using linear multiple regression to determine if a significant relationship existed between the utilization of collaborative learning and professional learning communities, teacher efficacy, knowledge, and perceived barriers to implementing collaborative learning. Results of the data analyzed indicated a weak linear relationship between teacher knowledge of collaborative learning (CL) and implementation. However, there was not a significant relationship between utilization of CL and teacher perceived barriers to implementing CL. A moderate correlation existed between participation in PLCs and implementation of CL, and a weaker correlation was found between teacher self-efficacy and implementation of CL. Yet, there was not a significant difference in the correlation between participants and nonparticipants of PLCs and teacher sense of self-efficacy. The results of this study revealed that PLCs and teacher self-efficacy could be an effective approach to increasing the implementation of collaborative learning in our classrooms.

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