Purpose in Learning Communities
Why is it important for your community?
Define Community
What does community mean to you?

Communities can be neighborhoods, churches, schools, classrooms, friends at work, any organization. Add any words or pictures that you think of when you consider the word "Community" to the comments below.

Some definitions and concepts about communities:

Community

A community [wikipedia definition] is a social group of organisms sharing an environment, normally with shared interests. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.


What is a Learning Community?

Communities of Practice
The concept of “communities of practice" represents one perspective on how knowledge develops and flows within professional communities. Not every professional collaboration constitutes a community of practice. Some defining interactions might include: mutual engagement among participants; social negotiation of meaning and understanding; reflection upon shared experiences; participation at various levels; intensive support for newcomers; and the development of shared "repertoires", rituals, processes, understandings and artifacts.


Community of Learners
Bob Lenz wrote in Edutopia about a
Community of Learners: "Building a Supportive Learning Environment" where community is a core value and schools are organized by teams or families, in which a group of educators share a cohort of students. There is a sense of community in every aspect of the school; from each classroom to the morning announcements to parent newsletters.

Networked Learning Communities
Tom Carroll asked "
If we didn’t have the schools we have today, would we create the schools we have today?" in a 2000 article in the CITE Journal. A Networked Learning Community is constructed as its members collaborate to achieve common goals, learning together as they develop solutions for problems they are addressing in common. As the learning community grows, the members of the community develop new knowledge and skills through their participation and contributions. Everyone becomes a learner in a Networked Learning Community, and the distinctions between students and teachers fade away.

Professional Learning Communities
A collegial group of administrators and school staff who are united in their commitment to student learning. They share a vision, work and learn collaboratively, visit and review other classrooms, and participate in decision making (Hord, 1997b). The benefits to the staff and students include a reduced isolation of teachers, better informed and committed teachers, and academic gains for students. Hord (1997b) notes, "As an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement."


Resources



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