Developing schools as learning communities : towards a way of understanding school organisation, school development and learning
Grounded in philosophy, organisations theories and ideas of learning, three themes are developed in this thesis. First, seeing schools as systems (more specifically as communities), implying a need for the research to discover evidence of this systematic nature and how it might change. Second, investigating the nature of hierarchy in schools (and how this relates to schools as developing systems), again, implying a need for the research to discover evidence for and explore the nature of hierarchies. Third, trying to understand learning in schools (learning by individuals and groups in schools, including student teachers, and how this learning is related to school development), implying a need for the research to explore the use of the views of school participants in a dynamic, changing, system. These three themes came together in the work on schools as distinctive types of communities, as learning communities. From a concern with therapeutic models, developed a number of methodological approaches including the use of 'real' and 'ideal' understandings, and the use of 'sincerity' in research. In this context, three sets of primarily qualitative school based and university based studies were completed, in order to: * * develop and pilot techniques for discovering the views of members of the school community (including student teachers), as ways of exploring the nature of school organisation and exploring school and individual development; investigate the use of the views of members of a school community, to contribute to the development of schools and individuals. The research found evidence supporting the significance of the idea of school as a community (as described by John Macmurray), hierarchically structured in some ways like the state (in Aristotle's sense). In these ways, schools are seen as having a special role in making people more real.