The Project of the other: Developing inclusive learning communities in schools
journal contributionposted on 08.12.2009, 16:27 by Hugh Busher
This paper considers the possible nature and membership of learning communities in schools and what evidence there may be of middle leaders trying to develop and sustain learning communities with their colleagues, even though these communities encompass asymmetrical power relationships between members. Although it is argued that students and support staff are part of these learning communities, not apart from them, the limited evidence from this study does not support this. How power is used and distributed to construct collaborative cultures, and the part played by middle leaders, is central to the development of a learning community. The promotion of dialogue and consultation amongst members helps them to generate a sense of community which, in turn, enables them to tackle effectively the tasks and dilemmas facing them. Empirical evidence from a small scale study in England, UK, indicates the ways in which some middle leaders have tried to build learning communities, and their colleagues views on their efforts, while negotiating the value-laden tensions and dilemmas inherent in all middle management posts in educational organisations.