Making change stick: Is your school a learning community?

The question almost sounds ridiculous. Is your school a learning community? 

Students may be learning, but is it a community learning? This is significant for schools in a couple of ways:

1. Students are immersed in an environment where learning is modelled as a key value at every level.

There are numerous lists of skills that our young people will need for success in the 21st Century. There are statistics citing the number of career changes that this generation will make. Learning is the key to staying on top and keeping pace with change.

It sends a powerful message to students when they know that their teachers are learners alongside them, learning with them and learning from them. When the entire school is a learning community there is vibrancy. Learning becomes infectious.

2. Educators stay at the cutting edge of innovation and remain fresh and passionate about their work.

There is no time to wait or especially stand still, the pace of change is exponential and innovation will just keep us moving. Educators who keep learning and embrace change will provide the conditions that will captivate and engage students. They relish in professional conversation, sharing ideas and mentoring/guiding peers.

A school with a vibrant learning community will also retain younger teachers who are driven by passion, community and fun! It is tempting to describe the corollary, but suffice to say that any work environment that is static and stagnant serves those who are resistant to change and reinforces a command-control culture.

How can a learning community become a key value in a school? 

Who learns. Everyone! Teachers, leadership team, administrators, parents,community along with the students.

Why we learn. To keep pace with change, to encourage professional conversations, to model learning to students, to grow as professionals.

What we learn. About the world, about each other. We learn about learning, about technology, about leadership, about the students and, very importantly, about ourselves.

How we learn. Just like the students – Online, face to face, small groups and as a whole group from time to time. We learn in project teams and traveling teams. Learn collaboratively, observing, doing, interacting and having fun. We even learn from the students.

Where we learn. Multiple learning spaces suited to specific activities, linked to context: campfires, watering-holes, caves, mountaintops. Different technologies in different spaces. Diverse furniture in different contexts with flexible configurations. Technology is an environment for learning.

Just keep learning!

5 thoughts on “Making change stick: Is your school a learning community?

  1. Pingback: OTR Links for 08/27/2011 « doug – off the record

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