Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators

Editors, Chris Kimble, Paul Hildreth and Isabelle Bourdon
Publisher, Information Age Publishing

As a two volume set:
Hard cover ISBN: 1593118678 , Soft cover ISBN: 159311866X

As separate volumes:
Hard Cover - Vol 1 ISBN: 1593118635 , Vol 2 ISBN: 1593118651
Soft Cover - Vol 1 ISBN: 1593118627 , Vol 2 ISBN: 1593118643

Volume 2, Chapter 12 - Heads Together: A Professional Online Community of Practice for Scottish Headteachers


This chapter explains the strategies and practical techniques used to initiate and grow 'Heads Together' - an online community of headteachers within primary, secondary, nursery and special educational needs sectors in Scotland. It reflects on the impact of training and describes a number of 'tools' such as the 'Hotseat', which allowed headteachers unprecedented access to public leaders and other tools promoting professional debate and conversation. Great use was made of 'self-portrait' profiles and photographs of the members to engender a community spirit. Three International online conferences were introduced allowing Heads from different countries to share ideas and experiences. One of these is examined in detail showing perceived benefits by headteachers. The vital role of the Facilitators in nurturing the Heads Together community and encouraging participation among its members is discussed throughout. Finally, this chapter shows how the community gained genuine acceptance by many as a professional tool rather than as an optional distraction and how a spirit of peer support and networking has grown and flourished. Our role in this was relatively short - two years - but a working, vibrant community was handed over to Learning Teaching Scotland at the end of that time.


Kevin Thompson
Michael Hartley