Building and Leading Within Learning Ecologies

  • Coral Mitchell
  • Larry Sackney
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 25)


This chapter utilizes an ecological perspective to draw attention to the dynamic connections, relationships and mutual influences that impinge on teaching and learning and the consequential implications for school leaders. Presented are concepts and strategies that equip leaders to conceptualize learning systems from an ecological perspective, to examine the mutual influences and interconnections among various aspects of school life and to frame and reframe conditions for enhancing teaching and learning. Concepts and strategies are organized around four domains of conditions: cognitive, affective, cultural and structural. The premise is that reciprocal relationships exist among the domains and that the learning ecology emerges when the domains are constructed and led in ways that enable people to make meaningful collective and individual responses to the compelling disturbances that arise in schools. Constructing the four domains from an ecological perspective requires leaders to pay attention to the processes and patterns of living systems. It challenges leaders to think about holistic patterns of activity and mutual influences within the school. The connections among cognition, affect, culture and structure indicate that the character of the relationships shapes how people teach/or learn. For leaders, the task is to discover the meanings and purposes that underlie specific actions so that they can move beyond judgments about unacceptable or confusing actions and thereby lead to joyful teaching and learning experiences for everyone.


Affective Condition Cognitive Capacity Learning Community Mutual Influence Professional Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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