Toward Communal Negotiation of Meaning in Schools: Principals’ Perceptions of Collective Learning from Success

From Section:
Instruction in Teacher Training
Nov. 10, 2011

Source: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 11, 2011


This study examines principals’ perceptions (mindscapes) about the notion and strategy of collective learning from faculty members’ successful practices.

Research Design
The study employed a qualitative topic-oriented methodology to explore principals’ mindscapes concerning collective learning from success in schools.

Data Collection and Analysis
Data were collected via face-to-face interviews with 65 elementary, middle, and high school principals.


Principals argued that in contrast to collective learning processes to evaluate failures and problems, collective learning from successful practices requires a deliberate and conscious shift in mindset with regard to collaborative learning in schools. Principals perceived the competitive culture and the comparison of professional abilities among faculty members as major determinants of a productive collective learning from success. Principals envisioned their role in this interactive process as promoting a learning culture of inquiry, openness, and trust.


As a leadership strategy to foster collective learning in schools, both practitioners and researchers need to evaluate whether a learning community can be developed when staff members are encouraged to collectively analyze their successful practices and receive affirmation for doing so.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Administrators' perceptions | Learning communities | Learning strategies | Principals