Eclert 1992

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Argues that school should be about fostering learners in taking charge of their lifelong learning.

"... many kids choose to fail in school because academic success conflicts with social fulfillment outside the classroom and the school. This choice should never arise. Transforming schools into learning communities requires harnessing the same energy that goes into non-school pursuits for the pursuit of school subject matter. This means that schools must become communities of practice* in which participation, including subject matter learning, is a viable vehicle for social identity and social interaction both in school and out." p.1

"A school must offer learning as a key to the world ..." p.3

School only allows identify formation around linear notion of better or worse (it is competative and narrow) - better scope for identify formation exists through resistance and subversion. (p.3)

Some basic qualities they think a school should have (to be effective):

  • Shared vision
  • Supporting common purposes
  • Fostering diversity
  • Internal openness
  • Openness to the world
  • Freedom to experiment (take risks)

Principles of School Design

1. Students are engaged learners

The school recognises the learner in every student Students take charge of their learning School articulates with the student's other communities, rather than setting up conflicts of identity Teachers are model learners, model participants

2. Curriculum and assessment foster engaged learning

a. Assessment is part of a learning system

Engaged learning requires empowered self assessment Assessment standards are related to personal responsibility and direct engagement with the outside Assessment is transparent Assessment is a real activity and of best efforts

b. Curriculum is thematic and integrated

Curriculum builds on diversity Curriculum is embedded in meaningful activity Curriculum is thematic and interdisciplinary Curriculum is transparent

3. Grouping of students is flexible and appropriate to the task

Learning groups are age heterogeneous Grouping and curriculum support view of learning as deepening rather than accumulating knowledge Grouping is according to task

4. School is a workplace for learning

Change is built into the school as an organization Teachers are also in school to learn: everything that applies to students also applies to teachers Resources are appropriately controlled

5. School is a community resource and the community is a school resource

School takes advantage of community resources for learning School works with parents


"Learning is a basic human activity. Society is based on learning, communities are held together by learning, people construct identfties through learning. Yet school is a place where learning becomes problematic, where it is assumed that somc people will not learn, and where it is assumed that learning is something that kids have to be forced to do. One might consider that leaming is problematic to the extent that the school is unlike other, everyday, communities - at least insofar as the institution isolates learning from the activities and social relations that give it meaning.

Individuals' learning must get them somewhere in the communities that matter to them. It must provide them with a way to be productive in the community, to be able to see their contribution, and to know that others recognize their contribution. No amount ofchange in schools will produce significant results unless the nature of school as a social entity is taken seriously. No amount of clever delivery of subject matter will capture the imaginations and energies of students who feel that their opportunities for social development lie elsewhere. " p.22