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Networked learning communities
Teacher agentic learning
Centralized systems
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Huang, J. S. D., Hung, W. L. D., Kwan, Y. M., Lim, V., Imran Sha'ari, & Cheah, Y. H. (2020). Cultivating laterality in learning communities in Singapore education system: Scaling of innovation through networked learning community (Report No. AFR 01/15 HJS). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
Cultivating teachers to be active and agentic learners is crucial for contemporary teacher education (Lipponen & Kumpulainen, 2011). Those teachers’ qualities are essential in preparing students’ future readiness in an increasingly complex world (P21 Framework Definitions, 2015). In fact, both learning principles and evidence from practice inform us that purposeful collaboration in networked learning communities (NLCs) encourage teacher agency to learn (Lieberman & Wood, 2003; Muijs, West & Ainscow, 2010). As a complement to the literature, we are interested in the development of social relationships among teachers, which enables and facilitates their learning. We propose “laterality” – the relations and networks among peers (e.g., teachers) as an important concept to characterize NLCs.

Studies on laterality, which have shown to support teacher learning, are usually found in the decentralized systems where individuals are the best entities to form these networks to support each other’s growth (Hargreaves & Goodman, 2006; Muijs et al., 2010). Thus, developing laterality from the bottom-up becomes natural in the decentralized contexts (Granovetter, 1973). Despite considerable theoretical promise of laterality and its increasing prevalence in practice, we wonder whether teacher laterality matters in the centralized education systems, and if it does, how it grows.
Note: Restricted to NIE Staff.
Project number: 
AFR 01/15 HJS
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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