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What characteristics and processes define a school as a learning organisation? Is this a useful concept to apply to schools?


Halia Silins
Flinders University, School of Education
Halia.Silins@flinders.edu.au

Silja Zarins
Flinders University of South Australia

Bill Mulford
Flinders University of South Australia

 

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Abstract

The concept of secondary schools as learning organisations was being examined as part of a research project involving South Australian and Tasmanian secondary schools. Learning organisations were defined as schools that: employ processes of environmental scanning; develop shared goals; establish collaborative teaching and learning environments; encourage initiatives and risk taking; regularly review all aspects related to and influencing the work of the school; recognise and reinforce good work; and, provide opportunities for continuing professional development. A survey of 2,000 teachers and principals was conducted using items representing these seven dimensions. The data were analysed and confirmatory factor analysis using LISREL was employed to test the four measurement models generated. The discussion clarifies the characteristics and processes recognised as existing in secondary schools that relate to the reconceptualisation of schools as learning organisations and addresses the usefulness of this approach.

Organisational learning, Secondary Schools as learning organisations, Confirmatory factor analysis, Teacher and principal survey

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Silins, H., Zarins, S. and Mulford, B. (2002) What characteristics and processes define a school as a learning organisation? Is this a useful concept to apply to schools? International Education Journal, 3 (1), 24-32.
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