Award Date

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Shaoan Zhang

Second Committee Member

Marilyn McKinney

Third Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Fourth Committee Member

Elizabeth Spalding

Number of Pages



This case study examines teacher learning and change in classroom practices as a result of participating in a professional learning community (PLC) that designs integrated curriculum of English/language arts and social studies. The participants for the study were a team of four fifth grade teachers, of which team the author is a member. These teachers teach in a Title-1 urban elementary school in the American Southwest. Case study methodology was chosen to examine this phenomenon. Data were collected from PLC sessions, interviews, recorded lessons, and artifacts. Collection took place at the research site. Data were analyzed using qualitative techniques of coding and triangulation and themes were verified with member-checks and consultation with an outside researcher. It was found that creating integrated curriculum allows teachers to examine their pedagogical content knowledge, that teachers realize connections between subject areas, and that the process is difficult and time consuming. It was also found that the community of practice created within the PLC drives teachers to examine their pedagogical content knowledge, develop their professional identities, and become more receptive to changing their practices. The study adds to the existing literature on professional learning communities, integrated curriculum, teacher learning, and teacher practice.


Curriculum; English/Language Arts; PLC; Social Studies; Teacher Learning; Teacher Practice


Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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