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Learning networks – enabling change through community action research

Bleach, Margaret, J. (2016) Learning networks – enabling change through community action research. Educational Action Research, 24 (1). pp. 21-33. ISSN 1747-5074

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Abstract

Learning networks are a critical element of ethos of the community action research approach taken by the Early Learning Initiative at the National College of Ireland, a community-based educational initiative in the Dublin Docklands. Key criteria for networking, whether at local, national or international level, are the individual’s and organisation’s commitment to improving the quality of the service they provide to children and their families along with their ability to work in partnership with others. Having reflected on our learning through these networks, our action research processes are used to generate new knowledge and arrive at satisfactory solutions to local and national issues. In this way, we test theory, policy and practice in real-life conditions and produce regular and systematic evidence for what does and does not work. Our capacity to work together to produce results we truly care about and to dialogue effectively with external stakeholders like government bodies, policy-makers and funders has been enhanced. This article begins by outlining the criteria used before engaging with a learning network, along with the types of networks we are currently involved with and our action research processes. Finally, the benefits and challenges in engaging with these local, national and international learning networks are considered. This article highlights how dynamic conversations with these networks enable us to improve outcomes for children and their families, maintain key local values and ways of working, and yet meet external requirements for evidenced-based programmes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform > Community Development
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Early childhood education
Divisions: Early Learning Initiative Publications
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 09:15
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 09:15
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/2132

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