Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. Jonathan Greenberg
Dr. Carol Riley
Dr. Marilyn Saucedo
Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods explanatory study was to identify and describe factors of risk-taking behavior among Riverside County Professional Learning Community (PLC) middle school teachers. It elicited teacher perspectives of a psychologically safe PLC that promotes risk-taking. Additionally, it sought to identify factors that increase psychological safety in a PLC.
Methodology: This mixed methods study uses a sequential explanatory 2-step process to produce results. The quantitative-qualitative study started with a quantitative survey that collected and analyzed numerical data on levels of risk among the population. Qualitative interviews provided context and further explanation on the methods to foster risk-taking among group members.
Findings: The study revealed that middle school PLC teachers perceive that there is a supportive environment for risk-taking. However, risk-taking creates anxiety because of personality driven conflicts and lack of recognized contributions to the PLC. Identified factors that influence risk-taking are increased awareness of psychological safety, a learner’s mindset among team members, and a designated facilitator that is focused on team development.
Conclusions: The conclusions from this study suggested that PLC environments are systematically healthy for psychological safety. PLC teams must focus on team development in order to encourage risk-taking within the group. Conflict resolution efforts must be put in place for the team to produce effective work for student outcomes.
Recommendations: Further research should include a correlation study to look at the levels of psychological safety among middle school teachers and identify specific variables that increase the psychological safety among them. A replication study of this mixed methods explanatory study should identify and describe levels of psychological safety among teachers and PLCs at different educational levels (K-5, 9-12, and postsecondary). A correlation study must be conducted to identify the relationship that exists between conflict resolution and levels of risk-taking. Another recommendation is a case study to identify and explore the relationship between psychological safety and performance. A phenomenological study should be performed which describes the institution of psychological safety within its PLC.
Cloo, William, "A Mixed Methods Study Identifying and Describing Factors to Promote Psychological Safety in Middle School Professional Learning Communities: Making the Bread Rise" (2020). Dissertations. 339.