Building a Learning Community in the Primary Classroom by Margaret 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 organised and a shift in the relations between teachers and pupils. Co-operative learning is a well researched instructional strategy with a long history in the USA, Canada and Europe. Major benefits have been identified in relation to higher achievement and greater productivity, more positive relationships and greater psychological health, social competence and self-esteem. Interest in this approach to organising 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 '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 'Assessment is for Learning' programme, which highlights the changing role of the teacher and her relationship with the children in her class. 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. Margaret Martin's study will appeal to student teachers, experienced teachers and teacher educators.