Learning in Community: The Importance of Values

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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
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Paul A. Keown

Senior Lecturer, Policy, Cultural and Social Studies in Education, University of Waikato
Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand

Paul Keown began his career as a secondary school teacher of integrated social science (Social Studies) and Geography. For the last 20 years he has lectured in integrated social science education and geography at the University of Waikato. Throughout his career Paul Keown has been involved in curriculum research and development and in teacher professional development at the national and international level. Recent publications include: Chalmers, L., and Keown, P. (2006). Communities of practice and professional development, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(2); Chalmers, L., and Keown, P. (2006). Communities of practice and the professional development of geography teachers, Geography: An International Journal, 91(2) ; Keown, P.(2008). Virtual Communities of Practice for Teacher Professional Development: What Works? International Journal of Knowledge, Culture
and Change Management, 8(9).

Ref: L09P1147