Literature has consistently linked social practice to learning process. It’s stated in several research and studies, that people learn better in communities. Information age turned the whole world into a global village, a large learning community where new knowledge and skills are fed from many resources to form a massive knowledge bank. Community means a group of people that share the same interests and consequently, the same learning needs. In schools where learning takes place, learning community have its prosperity. A learning community could be formed of staff, students or a mixture of both. The benefit reaches its ultimate extent when all stake holders form one large learning community. But then, how such a community could be raised up in schools and what is the role stakeholders can play in transforming schools into learning communities.
As a learning community, members share and seek to meet some well defined needs, accordingly a powerful start could be by stating these needs and planning to meet them. This, though led by principals should be shared by all stake holders. Simply by addressing who needs what and who could contribute positively, whether it’s a leader, teacher, parent or a student. Comes next, is providing a mechanism to achieve this role. In student learning communities: students could share and exchange knowledge, per grade level or among the whole school. This could be done by group of students conducting workshops, engaged in study groups or even sharing information in bulletin boards and online forums.
Same could be conducted among teachers through, peer review, focus groups, mentoring and many other means of professional development where “knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied”. A mixture of teacher-student learning community is reflected in class and outdoors when teachers meet their students in clubs and extracurricular activities. Any spot in the school is a learning spot that is broader than classroom boundaries. Outreach community is another mixed up learning community of parents and teachers.
One worth mentioning point is that learning community does not only mean sharing knowledge, it’s sharing planning and decisions to satisfy the needs. Good example would be the school improvement committee that needs to have representatives not only of teachers and administrative staff but parents and students as well.This could evolve by having first all parties involved in providing feedback on the practices in use then progress to being highly involved in the decision making process.Actually each and every decision making committee whether school based or district based should have representatives from all stakeholders.
Feeling ownership is the most important stimulant for any positivism .It’s how you urge individuals to be part of a whole and encourage them to maintain what they have been part of. Learning communities are a must in such a globalized world, where the vast flow of change and knowledge could be faced with the power of the group not by isolated individuals.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Exponential Growth Through Learning Communities by Bashaer Kilani is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://elearningtec.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/exponentional-growth-through-learning-communities/.