What is a learning community, and how do they improve education?

The shift to learning communities shatters the conventional idea that one teacher should be standing at the front of a classroom, delivering a lesson to 22 students.

In a learning community, a team of teachers works together with flexible groups of students. Definitions from a variety of journals, top universities, and educational experts indicate characteristics of a learning community include regular meetings, common goals, collaboration, peer review, working across boundaries, and relationship building. This creates more opportunities for schools to adapt to the individual needs of each child by allowing students to adjust their schedules, have access to several teachers, and work with diverse groups.

Teachers will have the time, space, and structure to plan collaboratively, offer each other professional coaching and mentoring, and team teach. One advantage of the team-teaching model is the ability for several teachers to build relationships with each student and work together to serve each of their specific needs. In conventional classrooms, there is a disadvantage when one teacher has the sole responsibility of knowing every child and meeting the needs of each individual in a single, static group.

It’s important to recognize that learning spaces must be transformed to support the learning community model. Schools should create spaces that can be flexible to adapt to different learning situations, as well as specific purpose-built facilities – for individuals, as well as varying group sizes. That is why WAB is in the process of rebuilding its learning spaces with designers who are world-renowned for their work in schools.

At WAB, we are transitioning to the learning community model, as this change will help us achieve important goals related to the Future of Learning at WAB, or FLoW21.

Interested in learning more about some of the topics we’ve covered in this article? Here’s a list of resources from experts:

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