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Creating schools as learning communities: obstacles and processes

Zafiris D. Voulalas (St Euphemia College High School, Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia)
Fenton G. Sharpe (University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 1 April 2005




The paper sought to clarify the concept of learning organisation/community; to identify the barriers that are perceived to obstruct the creation of learning communities out of traditional schools; to identify how principals go about the task of converting their schools; and the special characteristics of leadership required to transform schools successfully.


The study was dependent on an extensive review of the literature and generated data from structured interviews of principals from the New South Wales (Australia) public education system.


Respondents lacked a clear understanding of a learning organisation despite their actions to implement the concept in their own schools; the concept may indeed be too abstract to enable a suitable workable definition; there is, nevertheless, a strong belief that the concept has much to offer; leadership is the key factor in transforming schools; and traditional school structures and cultures, lack of implementation time, and difficulty in obtaining the support of staff and parents are seen as the main barriers to implementation.


The paper explores extensively the possible implications of the study and addresses these to schools and school systems, principals, teachers and parents.



Voulalas, Z.D. and Sharpe, F.G. (2005), "Creating schools as learning communities: obstacles and processes", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 43 No. 2, pp. 187-208.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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