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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Schools that Learn Revisited

A response to a classmate I thought I might share here as well...

The fifth discipline is an excellent resources for building great organizations. Therefore, my staff development philosophy comes from Senge’s fifth discipline and that is to see patterns rather than events. I would focus on making changes and educating staff on topics that will effect pattenrs within the organizations.

Bernadette,

I have enjoyed Senge's The Fifth Discipline both times I've studied it... once in an educational leadership course in my masters program, and once here at Walden.

While at a Residency in Seattle last year, I visited a used book store and managed to pick up The Fifth Discipline Field Book: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization by Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, Ross, and Smith. This book is intended as a guide for "companies, businesses, schools, agencies, and even communities" (as the jacket advertises), and - designed for browsing - it includes a variety of practical material such as solo and team exercises, innovations in organizational design, theory and methods, and "stories that incorporate systems archetypes or other applications of systems thinking" (p. 9). Though schools are mentioned in this book, the focus is far more broad, as was the focus of the original book.

Some time later, I ordered Schools that Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education by Senge, Cambron-McCabe, Lucas, Smith, Dutton, and Kleiner. The scenarios in this volume focus on schools of all levels. It begins with a primer of the five disciplines, and so would be effective as a stand alone volume if anyone is interested. The book is then organized into sections that focus on the classroom, the school, and the community.

In EDUC-6310, I prepared a presentation of this book, and in case anyone is interested, I have attached that work to this post. I'll warn you that it is unnecessarily lengthy for the most part, but it might help you get the gist of the book and decide whether or not it is worth adding to your own library.

-Mark

My presentation of Schools the Learn.

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