Chapter 30: Supporting Chemistry Teachers in Emergency Remote Teaching—The Role of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
Published:12 Jul 2023
A. Shauly, G. Shwartz, and S. Avargil, in Digital Learning and Teaching in Chemistry, ed. Y. Dori, C. Ngai, and G. Szteinberg, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2023, ch. 30, pp. 393-410.
Download citation file:
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic compelled schools to divert to emergency remote teaching. Teachers faced challenges regarding professional knowledge of learning, teaching, and assessment. Since professional learning communities (PLCs) are a rising platform for professional development and chemistry teachers’ PLCs were active during the COVID-19 crisis, the role PLCs had in supporting teachers is examined. The research goals were to describe the challenges high school chemistry teachers faced, to compare teachers’ work with the routine before the pandemic, and to describe the support aspects PLCs provided. Participants included approximately 120 teachers, from whom about 25 were part of a chemistry teacher leaders PLC, and about 55 participated in chemistry teachers PLCs operating close to their homes. Diversity was observed regarding spoken language; thus, community inclusiveness is discussed. Research tools included a questionnaire and interviews, and the analysis considered the diversity among teachers, and a comparison between the PLC member and other non-member teachers’ experiences during lockdowns. This study demonstrates the value of PLCs for enhancing teachers’ knowledge, particularly for developing collective pedagogical content knowledge. The practical recommendations made aim to improve teachers’ knowledge and communication among teachers, which will improve PLC support for all members.