The primary aim of this paper is to describe what a professional learning community is and how Learning Study can be regarded as a platform to develop such community in schools. This paper also aims to illustrate with a Learning Study case how the knowledge produced in the Learning Study process becomes public, first within the school in which the case is conducted and then widely across schools as part of the dissemination process. A professional learning community is one where teachers relate their professional learning to the improvement of their students’ learning; take collaborative responsibility for students’ learning; and work together to maximize their learning. Learning Study, which is a form of action research premised on a conceptual framework that builds on three types of variation, is employed as the key agent in the development of such community. By focusing on these three types of variation in a specific object of learning, teachers in the professional learning communities are able to learn from their students, from other teachers and from researchers. Dissemination of the Learning Study case through public seminars to other teachers is an integral part of the participating teachers’ learning when they reflect and prepare for it. Each teacher’s personal professional development thus contributes to a collective knowledge base. This paper draws on the data of a Learning Study about the teaching of “Evaporation and Condensation of water” at Primary 3 level to illustrate how teachers’ professional learning can be enhanced through: engaging in the study that permits a professional dialogue among colleagues; enhances collaboration with tertiary institution; encourages teachers taking enquiry stance; opens opportunities for multiple means of dissemination; and opens opportunities for teachers to reflect on their own practices in a more systematic way.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2008|