Learning from success as leverage for a professional learning community: Exploring an alternative perspective of school improvement process

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    Abstract

    Background: Although the professional learning community as a means of improving student achievement has received growing support from researchers and practitioners alike, professionals are still exploring ways to develop interaction networks regarding teaching and learning issues. Purpose: This study explores the evolving stages of a collective learning-from-success process within the framework of a professional learning community. Research Design: A qualitative case study of a comprehensive (middle and secondary) public school community was conducted to explore practitioners ' collective learning from successful practices. Data Collection and Analysis: A total of 12 detailed session transcripts from the learning-from-success sessions (circle of learners), 42 evaluation forms (21 internal and 21 external evaluations), 6 observations of the development team's sessions, and pertinent documents were collected for analysis. The analysis process involved identifying patterns in the data - recurring ideas and perspectives that depicted the social world studied. Findings: Data revealed that this collective process moved through three distinct, but closely interrelated, dynamic stages: invitation and framework building; collective inquiry into colleagues' professional successes; and experimentation and dissemination. Conclusion: Whereas collective learning has been approached from a deficit-based orientation, this study reinterprets the professional learning community to include the collective learning-from-success process, thus providing a new outlook for linking concepts with practical capabilities in light of public school reality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)182-224
    Number of pages43
    JournalTeachers College Record
    Volume112
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2010

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