Upgrading' - Co-constructing A Community of Learners

Year: 2000

Author: WHYTE, B

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

When does 1+1+1+1 = 1 ? When the recent establishment of an outpost university campus has provided the opportunity for development of a locally-flavoured version of the imported concept of Professional Development Schools (PDSs). The combination of inter-school knowledge, a teacher education programme, experienced teachers upgrading diploma qualifications to a degree, plus doctoral and Ministry of Education contract research data, has prompted an inter/intra school/university dialogue which is fast evolving into an authentic co-constructed community of learners.

Facilitated by university staff working cooperatively with school principals and teachers more interested in 'career lattices' than career ladders', this collaborative project is underpinned by Sergiovanni's notion of 'cultural leadership' (power to accomplish vs power over people) which fosters the notion of 'all teachers as leaders'. Rising to the challenge of developing a genuine transformative partnership, the educational community in a small city of New Zealand is exploring creative ways in which to integrate novice student teachers and experienced veteran practitioners into a community of extended professionals. This paper describes the process and explores the issues, of a partnership striving for 'deep' rather than 'surface' engagement.