Learning in Community: The Importance of Values
Community based-approaches to learning, such as communities of learners and communities of practice, have become increasingly important in education over the past twenty years. As these approaches have been implemented it has become clear that a carefully planned focus on values and attitudes is very important in establishing and maintaining healthy learning communities. This paper examines the literature on the role of values in learning communities and then reports empirical findings on the values dimension of two learning communities in New Zealand. One is a secondary social science school classroom face to face community (a community of learners) and the other an online secondary social sciences teacher professional learning community (a community of practice). Key findings from these studies are discussed with an emphasis on the complex role of values underpinning and governing learning communities. The paper concludes by outlining some implications of the findings for the establishment and maintenance of effective learning communities.
Keywords: Values, Community of Learners, Community of Practice
Paul A. Keown
Senior Lecturer, Policy, Cultural and Social Studies in Education, University of Waikato
and Change Management, 8(9).