Professional Learning Communities

Year: 2007

Author: Keay, Jeanne, Lloyd, Chris

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores the role of self-regulating quality assurance in the development of Professional Learning Communities and the model of professionalism necessary to support its effective implementation. The research that informs the paper focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of quality standards for continuing professional development providers in the area of physical education and school sport. The standards were designed by the physical education community because of concerns about the quality of provision and of providers and are intended to be used as a developmental, awareness-raising tool. The research process has been informed by the recent work of Stephen Kemmis, which emphasises that the aim of practitioners who engage with genuinely critical Action Research must be the transformation of practice. The model of self-regulation emerging from this work and its impact on the professional community concerned has interesting implications for other groups of professionals and their learning. Using the results of the research the paper explores:

• Models of quality assurance and their implications for models of professionalism
• Developmental models of self regulation and their impact on professional communities and their learning
• The role of professional communities in developing and implementing their own quality assurance procedures

The findings of the research indicate that developmental models of self-regulatory quality assurance have the potential to impact positively on the development of Professional Learning Communities and can lead to a democratic model of professionalism but that they require, and indeed depend upon, the voluntary engagement of the professionals themselves. The paper raises questions for further research and investigation about what incentives can be used to encourage professionals to engage with self regulating quality assurance and to recognise the benefits of developing and belonging to a Professional Learning Community.