Professional learning communities (PLC) are considered a rich environment for teacher professional development. Through a cross-case longitudinal analysis, using questionnaires, interviews and observations, we explored the effect of school context factors on the development of seven PLCs in Dutch secondary education. The study revealed the importance of a pro-active, stimulating role of the school leader, the presence of collective autonomy and skilled facilitators, the quality of the discourse and the degree of organisation and structure of meetings for PLC development. Sufficient time and space was considered indispensable by all PLCs. The findings of this study confirm and extend current knowledge on how to stimulate PLC development. Recommendations to foster PLC development were formulated providing guidelines for those involved in the implementation, development and sustainability of PLCs in schools.
- Cross-case longitudinal study
- Fostering PLC development
- PLC development
- Professional learning community
- School context factors