Leading Learning Communities with Creative Practice

Leading Learning Communities with Creative Practice

Susannah L. Brown (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Jennifer Lynne Bird (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Ann Musgrove (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Jillian Powers (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch096


Reflective leadership stories from various fields including, instructional technology, education and humanities guide the reader to reflect upon practice. Leadership theories that support personal growth, caring, interpersonal communication, problem solving, and creativity are discussed (Bass, 2008). Furthermore, the authors describe how creative leaders can use Communities of Practice (CoPs) as a mechanism to share and build knowledge, solve problems, and foster professional growth and development.
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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin

Leaders in all fields including education benefit through the application of creative strategies while simultaneously building strong learning communities. In a global society, virtual learning teams are essential for connecting human capital at all levels. A variety of learning community models supported by creative leadership is necessary to meet diverse demands to today’s society. Key literature relating to the models of creative leadership, transformative leadership, and communities of practice is synthesized; practical models are then shared to provide real world applications and narratives of reflective practice and creative expression. Reflective narratives focus on leadership theories that support personal growth, caring, interpersonal communication, problem solving and creativity, (Bass, 2008; Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Goethals, Sorenson, & MacGregor Burns, 2004; & Noddings, 1992). Communities of practice (CoPs) are a type of learning community made up of “groups of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise” (Wenger & Snyder, 2000, p. 139). The authors describe how creative leaders can use CoPs as a mechanism to share and build knowledge, solve problems, and foster professional growth and development.



Leadership and Communities of Practice

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor Frankl

In today’s global information society knowledge is an asset that needs to be managed strategically (Wenger, 2009). Increasingly, creative leaders are using the Communities of Practice (CoPs) approach to learning as a knowledge management tool. According to Kislov, Harvey and Walshe (2011) CoPs can be used to analyze and facilitate knowledge sharing in a wide range of organizational settings, including, business, education, information technology and healthcare organizations.

Carla’s Connection Dilemma

Carla is the Director of Professional Development in a large, geographically dispersed school district. The district recently implemented a grant-funded program to pilot a digital science curriculum using tablet computers in 20 third grade classrooms. The grant was awarded under the premise that the school district would establish a professional learning community to engage the participating teachers in ongoing collaboration, share ideas about best practices, and address challenges that arise from the use of the new digital tools. Participating teachers have such diverse schedules that they can only commit to one face-to-face meeting per semester. Carla is concerned that waiting so long to connect may result in the teachers’ forgetting to share information that may be critical to the success of the program. Faced with this dilemma, she reviews several articles on current trends in workplace learning which address how to build knowledge sharing communities among key human resources set apart by distance.

Key Terms in this Chapter

OCoP: CoP supported through an organization’s infrastructure.

Journaling: The writing process where authors capture their ideas on paper and sort through thoughts and feelings.

Transformative Leadership: The combination of four leadership components: activating intellect, valuing individualism, recognizing charisma, and motivating through inspiration.

Heart Map: A visual where the author draws a heart and in the heart writes the names of people, places and things that bring happiness. Illustrations may be added.

Creative Leadership: Utilizes all aspects of creativity in work contexts including: creative strengths, unique perspectives, supportive environment, and original results.

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