A Community of Learners (CoL) is a group of people who share values and beliefs and who actively engage in learning from one another—learners from teachers, teachers from learners, and learners from learners. They thus create a learning-centered environment in which students and educators are actively and intentionally constructing knowledge together.

Learning communities are connected, cooperative, and supportive. Peers are interdependent in that they have joint responsibility for learning and share resources and points of view, while sustaining a mutually respectful and cohesive environment. [further reading]

The very same principles that explain why students learn in communities of learners explain how teachers can learn in communities of teachers. Teachers must be in communities where they can actively and passionately investigate their own teaching, where they can consistently reflect on their own practice and its consequences, where they can engage collaboratively with one another, to investigate, discuss, explore and learn from one another about what happens when chance occurs in their teaching and thereby, where they can, as members of the community, generate a base of knowledge that goes beyond what any one of them could learn in the isolation which now characterizes their classrooms. 

The IRRESISTIBLE project is using Communities of Learners (CoL) as the main method to develop the professional development of teachers. Within the CoLs, each group of members has a different role: teachers have expertise with working in the classroom, science educators have a large theoretical background about education, science centers have experience in informal learning activities, researchers are experts in cutting edge science research, and people from industry are aware of the way science is used in industry. Our CoLs include experts from the field of formal and informal education, both in research and practice.


The Israeli Col visiting the Clore Science Garden