Cleary, S., O'Brien, M., & Pendergast, D. (2023). Exploring the links between psychological capital, professional learning communities, and teacher wellbeing: An examination of the literature. Education Thinking, 3(1), 41–60. https://pub.analytrics.org/article/13/
Professional Learning Communities
Recent research points to the significant role that Psychological Capital (PsyCap) plays in predicting teacher wellbeing (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2006; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), and in preventing burnout (Chang, 2009; Dussault & Deaudelin, 1999; Fullan, 2001; Hakanen et al., 2006; Maslach et al., 2001). PsyCap, the complex and malleable, "state-like" constructs of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism, is influential in increasing motivation in work and educational settings. Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE) (Goddard et al., 2015; Ramos et al., 2014; Sandoval et al., 2011) has also been found to positively impact teacher’s experiences through the enhancement of persistence, job satisfaction and professional commitment, expectations for students and effective implementation of change. What is not evident is how these two constructs interact, and to what extent they inform teacher wellbeing. Intriguingly, the implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) could serve as a crucial interface between PsyCap and CTE, facilitating a symbiotic relationship that magnifies their individual impacts on teacher wellbeing. PLCs not only provide a structured environment for collective problem-solving and shared expertise (Stoll et al., 2006), but also cultivate a sense of community that could potentially elevate these psychological constructs. This study investigates the literature to consider the potential relationship between PsyCap and CTE and the implications for supporting teacher wellbeing within the implementation of a Community of Practice (CoP) approach to professional learning.
A Systematic Qualitative Literature Review (SQLR) methodology (Pickering & Byrne, 2013) explores the intersections of psychological capital, collective teacher efficacy, and teacher wellbeing in the context of PLCs. The SQLR methodology applies specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, with 26 studies identified for review. The analysis identified connectedness between the PsyCap components of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism with teacher wellbeing, in particular to elements shown to mitigate teacher burnout, and which can be considered indicators in the assessment of wellness. The CTE and CoP literature highlights the importance of shared vision, structured collaboration, regular reflection, supportive leadership, celebration of successes, and fostering trust, as factors that facilitate positive teacher experiences within the processes of professional learning and navigating change. This analysis offers insights into how PsyCap and CTE may interact with and inform teacher wellbeing in the PLC professional learning context.
Menebhi, S. (2023). Supporting Transgender Youth in U.S. Public High Schools. Education Thinking, 3(1), 3–18. https://analytrics.org/article/supporting-transgender-youth-in-u-s-public-high-schools/
Transgender youth in the United States need support in public schools (Kosciw et al., 2020). This growing population experiences bullying, discrimination, and violence at higher rates than their cisgender counterparts, and this has negative impacts on their educational success and mental health (Garthe et al., 2022; GLSEN, 2021; Goldblum et al., 2012; Johns et al., 2019; Jones, 2018; Sausa, 2005). State and federal non-discrimination policies affect the degree to which transgender students feel safe (Fields & Wotipka, 2022). Yet, research shows that non-discrimination laws are ultimately limited in their impact, and schools need to establish their own policies and practices to support transgender youth (Meyer & Keenan, 2018; Roberts & Marx, 2018; Spade, 2015).
A total of 42 peer-reviewed journal articles were identified that address how to best support transgender students in secondary public schools. These articles were analyzed, and four major themes emerged as successful interventions: professional development for teachers, transgender-inclusive school policies, gay-straight alliances, and trans visibility in the curriculum. Drawing on Meyer’s (2003) and Testa et al.’s (2015) adaptation of minority stress theory, this review shows how schools have the potential to act as a buffer against minority stress for transgender youth. Suggestions for further studies based on gaps include a push for more intersectional research and research centered on school practices that currently work for transgender students.
Syed Menebhi is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rhode Island. He earned his B.A. in History from Rhode Island College and his M.A. in Teaching from Brown University. He is also a high school gender studies teacher in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. His research interests include how to best support transgender students in education.
6: Policy, Administration, and Management of Education
Country affiliation of author or of first author:
Type of publication:
Article published in a peer-reviewed journal
Name of author or of first author:
Bradford, K., Pendergast, D., & Grootenboer, P. (2021). What Is Meant By ‘Teacher Quality’ In Research And Policy: A Systematic, Quantitative Literature Review. Education Thinking, 1(1), 57–76. https://analytrics.org/article/what-is-meant-by-teacher-quality-in-research-and-policy-a-systematic-quantitative-literature-review/
The notion of ‘teacher quality’ is a concept that has dominated education research and policy for decades. While the terminology is widely accepted and used in the literature, it lacks a clear and consistent understanding and application in the field. Furthermore, the underpinning factors relating to ‘teacher’ and ‘teaching’ quality are regularly used interchangeably and often unintentionally. As a result, while the concept of ‘teacher quality’ is widely used and forms the basis of critical policy reform in Australia and internationally, its foundations are compromised due to this lack of clear definition and common intent. Moreover, with such disparate understandings and applications of ‘teacher quality’, assessing the viability and impact of policy and performance and comparing systemic outcomes in this area, in schooling systems, is increasingly difficult. Within this context, this study seeks to draw out, from a critical analysis of the literature, what is meant when the term ‘teacher quality’ is used in research and policy. A deliberate emphasis was placed on the Australian context with the intention of situating the findings in this setting. To achieve this, a Systematic, Quantitative Literature Review (hereafter SQLR) was conducted, adopting the formal methodology of Pickering and Byrne (2013). The SQLR produced 215 articles after exclusion protocols were applied. Forty-four themes emanating from these papers revealed that ‘teacher quality’ as a concept is invariably interconnected with notions of ‘teaching quality’, but the underlying constructs lack consistency and definition, despite an assumption that there is a shared understanding of the meaning. The findings suggest that the lack of clarity around this construct has allowed policy to drive a prevailing narrative, most recently characterised by a measurement and accountability agenda. As a result, professional expertise as well as interpersonal and psychosocial factors shown to impact the quality of teachers and their practice have been marginalised. It appears that what actually matters, in terms of impact in schools and performance of educators, is in the union of these concepts; ‘who’ teachers are and ‘what’ they do.
Kane Bradford is a PhD candidate. His research is examining the impact of public policy on the work and lives of teachers. In addition to his research, Kane is a practicing secondary school teacher and executive leader and has worked in public policy in Australia. Professor Donna Pendergast is Dean and Head, School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University. Donna has an international profile in the field of teacher education, particularly in the Junior Secondary years of schooling, which focuses on the unique challenges of teaching and learning in the early adolescent years. Professor Peter Grootenboer is currently the Director of the Griffith Institute for Educational Research at Griffith University. His research focus is on four key inter-related areas: practice and practice theory, action research, middle leadership (middle leading) and mathematics education. His research interests within these fields include: professional practice and practice development; leading change; and the affective dimension of learning.
Black Delfin, A. (2022). Evolving Views: Gender Discourses and Young Children. Education Thinking, 2(1), 41–57.
Sex and gender
As early childhood education is often approached through learning domains, this narrative review of literature traces some of the background theoretical work of the social/emotional learning domain, specifically looking at theoretical contributions in the area of the self, identity, and gender. Early childhood education is grounded in the developmental perspective. As such, two aspects of children’s early development within the social/emotional domain (the biological and the sociological), are examined. The research question prompting this review asked how adults’ understanding of gender discursively influences young children’s development of gender and identity. This narrative review seeks to qualitatively synthesize the chronological progression of theoretical explanations of gender emerging from research since 1966. It is recognized that the literature on gender is wide and that the sources and theories included here may not be exhaustive but do attempt to be comprehensive and provide a thread back over the last six decades spanning to the present that shows the evolving perceptions of gender. In looking at the thread of evolving perceptions about gender, it becomes evident that older generations (i.e., the adults of a given time) theorize and develop explanations and understandings regarding gender, and it is the younger generations (children of the given time) that enact the discursive information in each generation’s evolving perceptions of gender. Thus, how society, and particularly adults in society, view and treat gender has a profound effect on how children take up and enact gender. Future research may emerge out of feminist new materialism, where the materiality of gender signifiers, shared spaces, and embodied presentation stand to be examined as to their place in evolving views of gender.
Annabelle Black Delfin is an Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University and Western New Mexico State University. Additionally, she is an Education Consultant at University of New Mexico. Dr. Black Delfin’s background is in early childhood education. Her research areas include symbolic representation, gender and identity, cognitive development, and autism. Dr. Black Delfin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ORCID#0000-0001-6343-5528. This literature review is derived from a recently defended dissertation: Black Delfin, K. A. (2018). Discursive Constructions of Gender in Early Childhood Education: A Feminist Poststructural Analysis. Doctoral Dissertation. New Mexico State University.
McFarland, C. R., Friedrichsen, C., Tao, H., & Friesen, M. L. (2022). Working Together for Soil Health: Liberating Structures for Participatory Learning in Extension. The Journal of Extension, 60(2), Article 2. https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.60.02.02
Liberating Structures (LS) provide a user-friendly toolkit to shift group power dynamics and allow all
stakeholders to contribute. We explored the novel use of LS in soil health extension to conduct high-engagement
events with diverse stakeholders. Our goals were to promote social learning, networking, and to encourage innovation. Soil health themes emerged highlighting specific practices, and the necessity of addressing broader scope
issues of education, economics, and policy. Participants reported increased knowledge of soil health, professional
connections, and forecasted participation in soil-health-promoting activities. Participants also expressed a sense of
community, expanded perspectives, and appreciation of the co-development process.
Acknowledgements: “This project was funded by the Washington State Soil Health Initiative (SHI). The
SHI is funded by the state of Washington and was created to address knowledge gaps, better understand
linkages, and provide better guidance to stakeholders related to soil health.” This work was supported by
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS NACA #58-3064-8-002), an agreement with the
University of Idaho. This research was a contribution from the Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research
(LTAR) network. LTAR is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture. This work was also
supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture[Hatch project 1014527]. "Support was
also provided to MLF by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project 1014527."