32 SES 08 B, Learning Communities versus Teaching Machines
An accumulated research indicated that a key factor of a school improvement is the existence learning cultures that promote learning of teachers and, consequently, increase the achievement in all students (Louis & Kruse, 1995; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012).The school establishes as a Learning Organization or, in a more educational perspective, as a Professional Learning Community. Both coincide (Stoll and Kools, 2017) in building and sustaining a sense of community among school professionals, through a learning culture. These schools are characterized, among others, by having shared goals, collaborative work and a collective responsibility for improvement and learning. Teachers go to work together with the deliberate purpose of learning to do better and building collective school through shared leadership.
Effective schools have stronger cultures of learning with distinct structures and practices that distinguish them from weak school culture. The first one are characterized: opportunities for collaboration among adults; learning community with shared goals, structured opportunities for participatory leadership, and a culture of shared responsibility for student learning (Tichnor-Wagner, Harrison & Cohen-Vogel, 2016). As quote Hord (2003), “a community of professional learners is a key element of school capacity, a way of working, and the most powerful professional development and change strategy available for improving our educational system” (p. vii). The key to the cuestion has been to research how obtain a culture that focused all teachers on their joint responsibility for the student achievement (Louis, 2006).
In Spain, the practice of the teaching work, particularly in secondary schools, continues being a tradition of “splendid isolation” (Snoek, 2013), where dominate individualism and privacy (Bolivar & Bolivar-Ruano, 2016), with a weak culture of learning, in many cases, the profesional colaboration is not promoted. The most recent international reports of the PISA and TALIS (OECD, 2016a, OECD, 2016b) highlight this issue. Particularly secondary school teachers, as specialists in a discipline and grouped into departments, work alone, disconnected from their peers, without sharing how their colleagues do in school. This powerful norm undermines the development of productive relationships within professional learning communities (Murphy, 2015). The predominant structures in the organization of teaching work are usually inhospitable to professional learning among colleagues, preventing teachers to build a professional community.
This proposal is part of a doctoral thesis. The objectives of our investigation are to analyse in what scale the Spanish schools of Primary and Secondary in Andalusia approach to being Professional Communities of Learning. We want to know the degree at schools in shared leadership, professional learning of colleagues and a learning culture, also what factors or causes are associated.
In order to answer these questions, among others, we analyse what degree of development of Professional Learning Community have the schools in Andalusia in different dimensions. We are particularly concerned with the weaknesses of learning culture, as evidenced by recent international reports (OECD, 2016a, Opfer, 2016). We are interested in what variables are especially significant, what differences (in items and dimensions) have the Primary schools different than Secondary schools.
In this context, leadership distributed in a school understood as Professional Learning Community has come a privileged routes for the improvement of education (Harris, 2014). Leadership, professional community and relationships of trust have become key to change the culture of the school (Louis, 2006). We want to diagnose how pedagogical leadership of school management plays a fundamental role in the implementation of a school as a Learning Community. The principal in Spain has serious deficits and structural barriers to the exercise of learning-focused leadership (Bolivar & Moreno, 2006; Bolivar et al., 2017)
Bolívar, A. & Moreno, J.M. (2006). Between transaction and transformation: The role of school principals as education leaders in Spain. Journal of Educational Change, 7 (1-2), 19-31. Bolívar, A., & Bolívar-Ruano, M.R. (2016). Individualismo y comunidad profesional en los centros escolares en España. Limitaciones y posibilidades. Educar em Revista, n. 62, 181-198. DOI: 10.1590/0104-4060.47877 Bolívar, A.; Caballero, K., & García-Garnica, M. (2017) Evaluación multidimensional del liderazgo pedagógico: claves para la mejora escolar. Ensaio: Avaliação e Políticas Públicas em Educação, vol. 25, n. 94 doi: 10.1590/S0104-40362017002500780 Hargreaves, A.m & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School. Teachers College Press, New York, NY. Harris, A. (2014). Distributed Leadership Matters: Perspectives, Practicalities, and Potential. Thousand Oaks CA.: Corwin. Hipp, K.K., & Huffman, J.B. (Eds.) (2010). Demystifying professional learning communities: School leadership at its best. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education. Hord, S. M. (1997). Professional learning communities: Communities of continuous inquiry and improvement. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Hord, S. M. (2003). Foreword: why communities of continuous learners? In J.B. Huffman & K.F. Hipp (Eds.), Reculturing schools as professional learning communities (pp. vii-xi). Lanham: Scarecrowe Education. Louis, K.S. (2006). Changing the culture of schools: Professional community, organizational learning, and trust. Journal of School Leadership, 16 (5), 477-489. Louis, K.S., & Kruse, S. (1995) (Eds). Professionalism and Community: Perspectives on Reforming Urban Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Murphy, J. (2015). Creating communities of professionalism: addressing cultural and structural Barriers. Journal of Educational Administration, 53 (2), 154-176 OECD (2016a). School Leadership for Learning: Insights from TALIS 2013. Paris: OECD Publishing. OECD (2016b). PISA 2015 Results (Volume II): Policies and Practices for Successful Schools. OECD Publishing, Paris. doi:10.1787/9789264267510-en Opfer, D. (2016). Conditions and Practices Associated with Teacher Professional Development and Its Impact on Instruction in TALIS 2013. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 138. Paris: OECD Publishing. Peterson, P. L., McCarthey, S. L., & Elmore, R. F. (1996). Learning from school restructuring. American Educational Research Journal, 33 (1), 119-153. Snoek, M. (2013). From splendid isolation to crossed boundaries? The futures of teacher education in the light of activity theory. Teacher Development, 17 (3), 307-321. Stoll, L. & Kools, M. (2017). The school as a learning organisation: a review revisiting and extending a timely concept . Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 2 (1), 2-17. Tichnor-Wagner, A., Harrison, C., & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2016). Cultures of Learning in Effective High Schools. Educational Administration Quarterly, 52(4), 602-642.
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