Educators as Learners: Creating a Professional Learning Community in Your School

Educators as Learners: Creating a Professional Learning Community in Your School

Educators as Learners: Creating a Professional Learning Community in Your School

Educators as Learners: Creating a Professional Learning Community in Your School


How can schools develop a shared vision that embraces the aspiration of all members of the school community? How can members of a learning community work together to build the knowledge and processes needed for student success? This book describes a professional development model that supports educators and families in learning and growing together. It offers a theoretical framework and practical guidance for renewing the capacity of schools to produce positive results for all children.
• Part I: Cornerstones discusses concepts, assumptions, and leadership qualities of an effective school-based staff development model.
• Part II: Process presents lively case studies and activities that show how to build professional learning communities. It describes strategies to help teams engage in meaningful dialogue and discovery.
• Part III: Tools for Learning is filled with practical, field-tested staff development tools that complement the process of building school-based professional learning communities. This book embraces principles of collegiality, inquiry, learning, and community. It is written by practitioners for practitioners in the hope that collegial learning will be a renewing force in schools during these times of change.


Our school is a community of learners!] How many times do we see and hear this assertion, now so common in public schools? This is an ambitious promissory note, indeed.

The promise, is, first, that the school is a [community,] a place full of adults and youngsters who care about, look after, and root for one another and who work together for the good of the whole—in times of need as well as times of celebration. I find that precious few schools live up to this mantle of [community.] Many more are simply organizations or institutions.

As if [community] were not enough to promise, a [community of learners] is much more. Such a school is a community whose defining, underlying culture is one of learning. a community of learners is a community whose most important condition for membership is that one be a learner—whether one is

Roland S. Barth is the author of The Principal Learner:
A Work in Progress
(1997), Improving Schools from Within
(1990), and Run School Run (1980). He is a former public
school teacher and principal and member of the faculty at
the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Barth was
the founding director of the Harvard Principals' Center
and of the International Network of Principals Centers.

Called a student, teacher, principal, parent, support staff, or certified staff. Everyone. a tall order to fill. and one to which all too few schools aspire, and even fewer attain.

The big message of this little volume lies in its title: Educators as Learners: Creating a Professional Learning Community in Your School.

For when the adults within the schoolhouse commit to the heady and hearty goal of promoting their own learning and that of their colleagues, several things follow: They leave the ranks of the senior, wise priesthood, the learned, and become first-class members of that community of learners. and when the adults come to take their own learning seriously, value and promote it, students take note. and when students see some of the most important role models in their lives learning, they too will learn, even achieve. Hence, adults' learning in our schools is a basic, not a frill.

Schools exist to promote the learning of all of their inhabitants. Indeed, the central purpose of a school is to invent and then to provide the conditions under which profound levels of human learning can flourish. That's why we have them. To paraphrase the legendary coach Vince Lombardi: [In schools, learning isn't the most important thing; it's the only thing.] So just how do you transform a . . .

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