Motivators, Contributors, and Inhibitors to Physics Teacher-Leaders’ Professional Development in a Program of Professional Learning Communities

  • Smadar Levy
  • Esther Bagno
  • Hana Berger
  • Bat-Sheva Eylon


Teacher-leaders play a major role in promoting science education reforms, in teachers’ Professional Development (PD) and in the development of effective Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). However, the PD of the teachers-leaders themselves is rarely discussed in the literature. This study examined the PD of high-school physics teacher-leaders in a national program of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), along with the factors that affected their PD. The teacher-leaders participate in a PLC led by a team from the Weizmann Institute of Science, while they simultaneously lead regional PLCs of high-school physics teachers all over Israel. The program addresses the challenges of teaching physics, promotes implementation of learner-centered instructional strategies, and provides opportunities for teachers to examine collaboratively their teaching and their students’ learning. In order to study the professional growth of the teacher-leaders, and to identify the factors that motivated, contributed to, or inhibited their professional growth, we extended the Interconnected Model of Clarke and Hollingsworth (Teach Teac Educ 18(8):947–967, 2002) and adjusted it to the professional world of physics teacher-leaders. Three teacher-leaders were chosen as case studies. We studied the changes in their knowledge, attitudes, and practice in the context of a new learner-centered instructional strategy, along with the factors that affected these changes.


Interconnected model Professional development Professional learning communities Science education Teacher-leaders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Smadar Levy
    • 1
  • Esther Bagno
    • 1
  • Hana Berger
    • 1
  • Bat-Sheva Eylon
    • 1
  1. 1.The Science Teaching DepartmentWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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