Developing professional learning communities in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in China: Challenges and opportunities

Hui YUAN, Yue On James KO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


China is one of the forerunners in the worldwide expansion of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. Improving student achievement through advanced school autonomy in IB school has been a need among China. The academic demands that the program puts higher requirements on both teachers and students. Under such circumstances, school leaders will face the difficult dilemma of consistency and continuity in running international schools like IB programs. There is an obvious gap between Mainland China professional development and the requirement of teachers in IB. With the widespread acknowledgment of the power of professional development, the norm in IB schools w to lead and develop a professional learning community (PLC) which provide a job environment with collective, shared values among teaching staff. Students’ academic achievement and school autonomy are positively impacted by well-developed PLCs. Yet, few studies showed the positive relationship between IBDP and PLCs in China. This study aimed at exploring challenges and strategies in developing PLCs at four IBDP schools mainly in southern China. Analysis of teacher candidates’ written reflections, coordinators and principals focused group interviews and classroom observations indicated students learning outcome and school cultural context has been well-developed by PLCs. Based on this study, we propose five dimensions for further research on developing PLC, namely, shared and supportive leadership, support conditions, collective learning and application, shared value and vision, and shared personal practice, positively affect teachers’ commitment to students. Copyright © 2017 The Education University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017



Yuan, H., & Ko, J. (2017, November). Developing professional learning communities in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in China: Challenges and opportunities. Paper presented at the WERA Focal Meeting & HKERA International Conference 2017 (WERA-HKERA 2017): Innovation, Reform and Education Change in a Contemporary World, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.