Appendix II: Professional learning communities
TńĀpiritanga II: NgńĀ hapori kaiako
There is a substantial body of research evidence that examines the value of communities of professionals working together to improve student learning. As far back as the 1920s, John Dewey contended that schools need to be communities of inquiry into their educational practices, using data and their own contexts to examine issues that affect students‚Äô engagement with learning. Today, many researchers argue for professional learning communities that work and learn together at all levels of the educational system, collaborating to build their capacity to change and improve so that they can achieve better outcomes for their students.
Note that these materials generally use the terms ‚Äúcommunities of practice‚ÄĚ and, to a lesser degree, ‚Äúdiscourse communities‚ÄĚ rather than ‚Äúprofessional learning communities‚ÄĚ. These terms have arisen from the work of situated learning theorists who argue that interactions with the people in one‚Äôs environment are major determinants of both what is learned and how learning takes place (Putnam and Borko, 2000). You can read more about situated learning theories in Appendix I.
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