Language Teacher Associations that Learn
Peter Senge’s (1990) description of five disciplines (systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team learning) practiced in a “learning organization” provides a useful rubric for thinking about how Language Teacher Associations (LTAs) can prepare for inevitable changes and challenges. Systems thinking focuses attention on the componential nature of LTAs various subsystems, including interest groups and governance committees, which together generate the LTA’s contribution to a larger educational system. Personal mastery emphasizes the role of LTAs in helping members to actualize their own visions. Surfacing the tacit mental models that shape understandings of what LTAs can accomplish can serve as a tool for removing roadblocks as well as identifying useful directions. Finally, a shared vision cannot be imposed by leadership but rather must be cultivated and achieved through productive team learning practices such as differentiating between dialog and discussion and regular work with potential scenarios. In addition to considering how Senge’s disciplines apply to LTAs, the chapter provides opportunities for reflection that can be used by LTA members hoping to engage in productive change within their association.
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