Building a Learning Community in the Primary Classroom

Policy & Practice in Education series No. 19

By Maragret Martin

The introduction of co-operative learning creates the environment for the development of a learning community in the classroom. This approach demands a reappraisal of the way teaching and learning is organized, with a shift in the relations between teachers and pupils. Co-operative learning is a well researched instructional strategy with a long history in the US, Canada, and Europe. Major benefits have been identified in relation to higher achievement and greater productivity, more positive relationships and greater psychological health, and social competence and self-esteem. Interest in this approach to organizing learning and teaching has begun to build in Scotland in recent years, with a number of local authorities interested in exploring its possibilities. The introduction of Scotland's A Curriculum for Excellence has provided a focus on innovative approaches to learning, enabling young people to develop their capacities as confident individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens, and effective contributors to society. Equally important has been the introduction of high profile support for formative assessment practices, through the Scottish Assessment is for Learning program, which highlights the changing role of the teacher and the teacher's relationship with the children in the classroom. However the transformation required to build a real learning community in the classroom is more than just a change in instructional strategies. For many teachers, it is a change of philosophy. This book explores that crucial personal dimension of putting policy into practice.

87 pages

Publication Date: 5/24/2007
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781903765685