No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Learning organisation thinking as applied to schools


Best selling author Peter Senge - who wrote the highly acclaimed 'Fifth Discipline Fieldbook' and is an inspiration to many trying to create learning organisations - has just released his latest book: Schools That Learn.

The authors describe how institutions of learning can become learning organizations, in a way that promises the revitalization of schools, classrooms and even communities around the world.

"Schools may be the starkest example in modern society," says Peter Senge, "of an entire institution modeled after the assembly line. This has dramatically increased educational capability in our time, but it has also created many of the most intractable problems with which students, teachers, and parents struggle to this day. If we want to change schools, it is unlikely to happen until we understand more deeply the core assumptions on which the industrial-age school is based."

At a time when people around the world see education as the highest form of leverage to improve society, and when more people than ever are concerned about the ability of today's institutions to live up to that goal, Senge and his colleagues have released Schools That Learn. This book of almost 200 pieces of writing from more than 100 educators, parents, and students represents the first coherent effort to apply the principles of the "learning organization" to institutions of learning.

Schools That Learn is, in part, a kind of Whole Earth Catalog of approaches to effective school change, developed by some of the most innovative educators in America. But it is also a new and compelling twist on the debate about education in our time. Amidst arguments that schools need more money, more choice, more discipline, more standards, more experimentation, and more compassion, Schools That Learn suggests that no cookie-cutter answers will suffice. Schools are complex systems, grounded in industrial-age assumptions about learning; trapped by these assumptions, neither teachers nor administrators nor parents have the ability to change the system alone. Nor can policy makers (or the media) wreak effective change by setting standards and giving tests. Effective change can only happen by conducting long-term conversations among teachers, administrators, parents, and students and by giving people the chance to act on what they have learned through those conversations.

The book Schools That Learn came into existence because educators demanded it. The story goes back to 1990, when Senge published The Fifth Discipline, a book on building learning organizations that has sold more than 600,000 copies since, and that the Harvard Business Review would later call "one of the five most significant business books of the 1980s and 1990s." The follow-up The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, put together by Senge and five coauthors, was a guide to hands-on implementation of the "learning organization" idea. It, too, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. But in the years since, Senge and his colleagues discovered that as much as twenty-five per cent of their audience was composed of teachers and school administrators. These were people who recognized the importance of school change, and the difficulty of making it work from just a top-down orientation. Ever since, educators have regularly requested a book that focuses specifically on schools and education, and that can help reclaim schools even in depressed or ill-managed districts.

The book is due for publication on 12 September 2000 by Doubleday/Currency


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!