Role of teachers professional capacity building in enhancing school as a learning community
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
The concept of a learning community in recent decades has been discussed widely in the academic circles and gradually it is becoming a prominent feature of various educational institutions around the world as an effort of school reforms. Learning community develops where all school stakeholders such as school heads, teachers, students and parents actively work in a group with the motivation of shared learning to achieve a shared school vision and goals. The process of enhancing the school as a learning community is a complex issue. There are different ways of enhancing school as learning community and teachers' professional capacity-building is one of them that help schools to prepare teachers for change and build their capacities to contribute constructively to the development of the school. Therefore, it becomes indispensable to explore the role of teachers' professional capacity-building in reforming the school as learning community. This study aimed at exploring the role of teachers' professional capacity-building in enhancing school as a learning community through investigating the understanding of different stakeholders about professional capacity-building, their perceptions about a learning community and in their opinion how their professional capacity-building contributed towards enhancing school as a learning community. Within the qualitative research paradigm, a case study approach was adopted to respond to the research question. The research was conducted in a community based school, as a single case study. The participants were selected through purposive sampling which included the school principal, a group of subject or academic coordinators, teachers, students, and parents. Data were collected through interviews and focused group discussions along with the analyses of some documents relevant to the study. The data revealed that the school is implementing the notion of learning community that fostered the culture of shared learning, collegiality and collaboration, empowerment, etc. The school had established strong personal and interpersonal relationships among the school community through developing teachers in order to ensure the successful implementation of the notion of learning community in a school. However, data also presented an important finding that there is a gap between the understanding of different stakeholders regarding the term 'learning community'; except for the school principal, all the other stakeholders did not have a clear understanding of the notion and they considered the term community-based school as equivalent to the notion of learning community. As such, for them parental involvement was the only pre-requisite for schools to work as learning communities. Yet the school was running smoothly on the notion of a learning community as the principal had a clear understanding about the notion and strongly monitored all the activities to ensure the effective achievement of educational goals. This indicated that the school principal has great influence on the overall school in terms of a school's practices, culture, norms and values. Apart from this, the findings also presented a clear association between teachers' professional capacity-building and its role in enhancing the school as a learning community. Finally, the data identified two important challenges: one being teacher turnover and the other financial constraints. These two challenges may hinder the process of school improvement, as due to a shortage of donations and human resources the school may have to face great difficulties in implementing any further plans. All these findings conclude that though most of the stakeholders were unaware about the notion on which the school is running, the successful implementation of the notion of a learning community in the school is due to the influential role of the school principal as a school leader.
Damani, F. (2011). Role of teachers professional capacity building in enhancing school as a learning community (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.