For the Reader's Reflection and Consideration

To highlight the research findings from the study of Cottonwood Creek School, the following premises or propositions have been identified:

  • In a school where the staff operates as a professional learning community, the aspirations of the teachers, as well as the needs of the students and goals of the school, are realized.
  • There must be some factor or purpose around which the staff rallies its interest and energy to join in community, and that factor must ultimately benefit students.
  • In combination, an external force (The New Curriculum) and an internal force (the leadership of the principal) provide the support and guidance for the development of a community of professional learners.
  • The factors that make it possible for students to grow and develop (provision of stimulating and relevant material, processing the material in a social context, feedback on performance, support and encouragement, etc.) are the same that enable professional staff to grow and develop.
  • A climate of democratic participation (in matters of authority and decision making) by all constituents in the school - administrators, teachers, other staff, students, parents - generates energy and enthusiasm to reach goals.
  • In addition to a focus on goals and productivity, the community of professionals in the school demonstrates care and concern about the students and each other.
  • Organizational learning, in contrast to individual learning, is richer and provides focus for the members of the professional learning community.
  • The school's administration must provide the schedules and structures for initiating and maintaining organizational learning and its application by the professionals in the school.
  • Sharing their classroom practice provides the opportunity for members to give and receive feedback, contributing to their learning and development.
  • An undeviating focus on students, their needs and care, is the compelling motivator of the learning community of professionals.

Next Page: References and Credits

Published in Issues ...about Change Volume 6, Number 2, Creating a Professional Learning Community: Cottonwood Creek School (1998)