Collegial learning and collective capacities

Year: 2003

Author: Woodward, Helen, Hall, Cynthia

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

According to MacGilchrist, Myers and Reed (1997) schools have a range of collective capacities and depending on how those capacities are utilized as to the degree of benefit that can come from the resulting collaboration. Looking at school as a learning organisation Yinger and Hendricks-Lee (1993) argue that 'ecological intelligence' is more that a crude sum of the parts. There is not much doubt that this 'ecological intelligence' and the collective capacity of any group, used wisely, advantage all involved. This process has been proven yet again through a research program as part of the "Fair Go" research concentration at the University of Western Sydney. This is a program where is it expected that the people within the school community (teachers parents and children) will collaborate and together develop 'new' or 'improved' classroom pedagogy. We have taken this collaboration one step further.

This paper will describe the processes and the results of forming not only a collaborative group within one school but also of the forming a collegial network across five schools in the Western Sydney. After several meetings participants decided on a common core of professional development, that of student engagement leading towards improved student outcomes. While each school took its own pathway there were many commonalities. A collegial network was formed and a network team developed. The benefits of such a network at both individual school level and at the collegial level are great with the collegial learning and collective capabilities profiting all those involved.