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Building and Connecting Learning Communities: The Power of Networks for School Improvement
Steven Katz, Lorna Earl, and Sonia Ben Jaafar (Eds)
Corwin | SAGE / Softcover / Sep 2009
9781412966016 (ISBN-10: 1412966019)
Education / Toronto-Area Authors
price: $38.95 (may be subject to change)
136 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

Ideal for school leaders, teacher leaders, and superintendents leading district-level change, this book describes how separate professional learning communities can be purposefully linked across schools to create effective Networked Learning Communities (NLCs). Steven Katz, Lorna M. Earl, and Sonia Ben Jaafar demonstrate how NLCs can effectively engage schools in creating and sharing professional knowledge and develop the kind of deep and sustained changes that enhance student learning, engagement, and success.Based on the authorsÆ research and work with districts and schools in North America and England, the book defines NLCs, explains how they work, and leads readers in examining:
• The importance of having a clear, evidence-based focus
• Collaborative inquiry as a process that challenges thinking and practice and generates new learning for teachers
• The role of formal and informal leaders in both professional learning communities and networked learning communities

Building and Connecting Learning Communities demonstrates how to work together to create the conditions for focused professional learning for teachers and tackles the challenge of how to sustain the work of NLCs.

Key features

• Details a process for cultivating the conditions for knowledge creation and sharing in relation to an identified needs-based focus
• Identifies a set of key enablers at both the school and network levels that have been found to be influential in enhancing classroom practice and improving student learning and achievement
• Illustrates how these key enablers can be intentionally developed at both the school and network levels, and how both units—school and network—can be strengthened through their relationship to one another
• Develops a running narrative of a single school's place and interactions within a networked learning community to illustrate the inner-workings of NLC development

Table of Contents:


About the Authors

1. Why Networks? Why Now?
It’s About Learning
Networks: A Powerful Organizational Tool
Time for Reflection

2. How Networked Learning Communities Work
What Are Networked Learning Communities?
How NLCs Work: The Theory of Action
Using NLCs to Focus Local PLCs
The Anatomy of a NLC: A Refined Theory of Action
Time for Reflection

3. Establishing a Clear and Defensible Focus
Focus Foremost
Evidence-Based Focus
From a School Focus to a Network Focus
Time for Reflection

4. Collaborative Inquiry to Challenge Thinking and Practice
The Importance of Relationships
From Inquiry to an Inquiry Habit of Mind
From Relationships to Deep Collaboration
Getting to Powerful Collaborative Inquiry
Time for Reflection

5. Leadership in Networked Professional Learning Communities
Roles of Formal Leaders
Roles of Informal Leaders
Time for Reflection

6. From Student Learning to Teacher Learning
Towards Focused Collaborative Inquiry
Collaborative Inquiry for Teacher Leaders
Within-School Focused Professional Learning: Collaborative Inquiry for Teachers
Time for Reflection

7. Using the Network to Support Professional Learning for Leaders
Collaborative Inquiry and Focused Learning for Leaders
Using Critical Friends to Promote Inquiry and Focus Efforts
From Collaborative Inquiry to Instructional Leadership Actions
Time for Reflection

8. Sustaining Networked Learning Communities
Sustaining Collective Understanding
Sustaining Professional Learning
Sustaining and Broadening Leadership
Sustaining Powerful Networked Learning Communities
Time for Reflection


About the Authors:

Steven Katz is the director of Aporia Consulting Ltd. and a faculty member in the Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE, UT), where he teaches in the Child Study and Education graduate program. He is the recipient of the OISE, UT- wide award for teaching excellence. Steven has a PhD in human development and applied psychology, with specialization in applied cognitive science. His areas of expertise include cognition and learning, teacher education, networked learning communities, leading professional learning, and evidence-informed decision making for school improvement. He has received the Governor General’s Medal for excellence in his field and has been involved in research and evaluation, professional development, and consulting with a host of educational organizations around the world. He is the author of several best-selling books, including Leading Schools in a Data-Rich World, Building and Connecting Learning Communities, Intentional Interruption, and The Intelligent, Responsive Leader.

Lorna M. Earl is a director of Aporia Consulting Ltd. and a retired associate professor from the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She was the first director of assessment for the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office, and she as been a researcher and research director in school districts for over 20 years.

Throughout her career, Earl has concentrated her efforts on policy and program evaluations as a vehicle to enhance learning for pupils and for organizations. She has done extensive work in the areas of literacy and the middle years, but has concentrated her efforts on issues related to evaluation of large-scale reform and assessment (large-scale and classroom) in many venues around the world. She has worked extensively in schools and school boards, and has been involved in consultation, research, and staff development with teachers' organizations, ministries of education, school districts, and charitable foundations. Earl holds a doctorate in epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as degrees in education and psychology.

Sonia Ben Jaafar is a research associate at Aporia Consulting Ltd. She works internationally to support policy and program development and implementation through applied research and evaluation. Her areas of expertise include assessment, accountability, educational reform, policy and program development, and comparative studies.

Ben Jaafar graduated from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto with a PhD in theory and policy studies. She also holds an MA in curriculum, teaching, and learning; a BEd specialized in science education; and a BSc in biochemistry.

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