Developing a Professional Learning Community Model for Music Education

October 23, 2008 / By: Nyssa Maria Brown

The intent of this thesis is to determine to what extent and with which adaptations the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model, according to Robert Eaker, Richard DuFour, and Rebecca DuFour, can be used as a template for professional development in music education.  This is a theoretical thesis in which the principles and guidelines of a Professional Learning Community are explained and then serve as a template for the adaptation and implementation of the philosophical and pedagogical principles of music education.  In addition, the following sub-questions will be addressed:  What are the defining structural components of a PLC?  How can music educators apply the practices of Professional Learning Communities to professional development practice?  The results of this theoretical application suggest that there are multiple ways that K-12 music educators within schools, districts, or larger areas can apply the structural components of a Professional Learning Community to increase teacher capacity and ultimately student learning.  By varying the grade level, content specialty area (band, choir, orchestra, etc.), and PLC topic, music educators can apply PLC practices with the flexibility to suit their own teaching situations and students learning needs.  This thesis offers multiple configurations that may help music teachers advocate for professional development that focuses on music education, instead of or in additional to other content areas such as reading or math.  With implications for staff development, curriculum specialist, and music educators, this thesis provides practical suggestions, possible challenges, and recommendations for successful implementation of like-content professional learning communities in a K-12 specialist team, including music educators.