The practice of the professional learning community (PLC) as a sustainable form of school-based professional development has emerged as a key element in school policy to address the increasing demands for school improvement. This study aims to address the missing link by exploring the relationship between school-level teacher qualifications and implementation of school-based PLC in Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Hong Kong. A territory-wide questionnaire survey was designed to examine the perceptions of preschool teachers on four dimensions of school-based PLC, namely shared responsibility, reflective dialogues, deprivatized practices and organizational learning. We employed a stratified random sampling method for the data collection. Based on the information of Education Bureau database, we divided the whole target population into three groups by school size (i.e., small, medium and large), on the assumption that school size is a critical feature shaping the collaborative work of teachers in local preschools. Of the 300 target schools, 2,066 teachers from 189 preschools were recruited and completed the survey, resulting in a response rate of 63%. Confirmatory factors analysis and latent mean analysis were used to examine how the latent constructs of school-based PLC were associated with school-level teacher qualifications. The findings suggest that overall there is a significant relationship between school-level teacher qualification and the four dimensions of school-based PLC activities. As the percentage of bachelor degree holders in preschools increased, the level of teachers' perceptions or observations of the PLC activities within their schools increased. This study establishes a platform for future studies focusing on structural relationships between the function of school-level teacher qualifications and the four dimensions of school-based PLC. It also provides supports for the current policy focus of enhancing pre-school teachers' qualifications in ECE in Hong Kong.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2014|