SA Journal of Education, Vol 41, No 3 (2021)

A case study of two teacher learning communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Free-Queen Bongiwe Zulu, Tabitha Grace Mukeredzi


In the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development, a South African policy, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education (DHET) call for the formation of professional learning communities and envisage support for teachers and access to enhanced professional development opportunities at the local level. However, the formation and operation of professional learning communities in a South African context is still unclear. In this article we use the concept of professional learning communities to examine the extent to which 2 teacher learning communities operate as professional learning communities. We used interviews, observations, survey questionnaires and document analysis to generate data. The findings of the study reveal that the 2 teacher learning communities were initiated by the DBE and not by teachers. However, the size of 1 teacher learning community and the nature of its functioning seemed to adhere to the characteristics of a professional learning community while the other did not. The findings indicate that professional learning communities that operate in developing contexts might be functional when all the stakeholders play a meaningful role in supporting professional learning communities.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Free-Queen Bongiwe Zulu -
Tabitha Grace Mukeredzi -

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