From School Community to Learning Community

Rosa María Torres


It is important to differentiate school community, education community and learning community, and the corresponding differences between school/school system, education/education system, and learning/learning system.

Education is not limited to school education (schooling). Even if they are regularly used as equivalent, education system and school system are not the same thing. The school system is one, of many, education and learning systems, such as the family, the media, work, sports, etc.

Education is not necessarily equivalent to learning. Not all that we learn is a product of education (education involves teaching, someone occupying this role, in presence or at a distance).
- On one hand, much of what is taught in the school system is not learned.

- On the other hand, much of what we learn in life, from birth to death, takes place out of the school system. Nobody teaches it to us; we learn it informally while playing, talking, listening, doing, observing, reading, writing, working, watching TV, listening to the radio, navigating on the Internet, traveling, etc.  


Therefore:

The school community comprises those engaged in the school life, at local or national level: students, parents, teachers, administrators. 

Education community is a broader concept. It includes all those who are related to education in a broader sense, not restricted to the school system: the family, mass media, the workplace, sports, churches, etc. 

A learning community refers to a community of learners, people of all ages engaged in different types of learning activities and processes, in and out of the school system.
- A learning community can be a classroom or a school: learning is placed at the center rather than academic achievement as measured by tests; teachers and students learn together and from each other.

- A learning community can be a local community, a territory - urban or rural, small or large - that decides to motivate and engage everyone in learning - children, youth and adults. For that purpose, the community gets organized in order to identify,  activate, and co-ordinate the various learning spaces and resources available in that community, whatever they are: child care center,  school, university, library, park, plaza, market, atelier, health center, museum, sports yard, music club, movies, theater, local radio or newspaper, zoo, internet cafe, community house, etc.
The table below summarizes some important differences between a School Community and a Learning Community.


FROM
TO

School Community

Learning Community


▸ Children and youn people learning 
▸ Children, young people and adults learning 
▸ Adults teaching children and youth 
▸ Inter-generational and peer-to-peer learning
▸ School education 
▸ School and out-of-school education
▸ Formal education
▸ Learning in formal, non-formal and informal environments
▸ School agents (headteachers, teachers, administrators)
▸ Education agents (school agents and other social agents assuming education roles)
▸ School agents as change agents 
▸ Education agents as change agents 
▸ Students as learning agents
▸ Students and teachers and learning agents 
▸ Fragmented vision of the school system (pre-school, primary or basic, high school, higher education)
▸ Systemic and unified vision of the school system (a continuum from initial to higher education) 
▸ Institutional plans
▸ Inter-institutional plans
▸ Isolated innovations
▸ Networked innovations
▸ Network of schools
▸ Network of education institutions
▸ School project
▸ Community education project. Each one is different, unique. It responds to the community's needs, desires, aspirations, and conditions.
▸ Sector approach to education  (education as a "sector")
I
ntra-school approach to education
▸ Inter-sectoral approach to education and learning
T
erritorial approach to education and learning (the territory as learning ecosystem)
▸ Ministry of Education in charge
▸ Various Ministries engaged
▸ State/government
▸ Local community, national community, State/government
 
 Education
 
Lifelong Learning 

Related texts in this blog  
Comunidad de Aprendizaje
Comunidad de Aprendizaje: Educación, territorio y aprendizaje comunitario

Aprendizaje a lo Largo de la Vida
Sobre Aprendizaje a lo Largo de la Vida
On Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning in the South: Critical issues and opportunities for adult education 
Transforming formal education from a lifelong learning perspective
Lifelong Learning: Moving Beyond Education for All (EFA)

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