Connected and Contagious - NZCER Conference May 2011
NZCER Conference:Wellington 12 May 2011
It seems obvious that schools should be places of learning for everyone involved in them. Many of the seemingly intractable education issues require the adults in schools to learn to think in new ways and try new practices. Yet how often do we focus attention on the learning of the adults as well as the young people? We now know that making meaningful school change is very difficult and that to achieve it, we need to work together in systematic and sustained ways. We need to do this at all levels of education: international; national; regional; school-wide; and classroom. Strategies for building this kind of collective thinking and working go by many different names—learning communities, learning organisations, communities of practice and professional learning communities. How do they work? How might they help schools meet the learning needs of the adults while also working to improve the learning for all? How can we make the learning contagious within and across schools and the learners more connected?
This one-day conference explored the idea of a learning organisation. Jennifer Garvey Berger led a number of interactive sessions throughout the day, anchored by a robust understanding of conference-goers as adult learners and of the conference itself as a brief but important learning community. The aim was to help each other become clearer about how to support everyone in schools to have vibrant and full learning lives.