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  • What Does It Mean to Transform a Practice Through Community? by Frances Hensley and Lynne Coleman
Friday, 03 February 2017 12:04

What Does It Mean to Transform a Practice Through Community? by Frances Hensley and Lynne Coleman

This session uses the tools, dispositions, and strategies of learning communities and applies them to transform a widely used practice into something more meaningful and lasting.

Service Learning is a cornerstone of many international schools, however often these projects, whether led by individuals, clubs, classes or schools are short-term charity events that don’t result in transformation for either the recipients or the students. 

Working in an intentional learning community, participants will engage in analyzing case studies of several international school projects and transform them into opportunities for students to engage in sustainable, social justice that has long-term benefits for everyone involved. Participants will become aware of how learning communities can be used to transform planning for projects and how they might apply this approach to their own setting. 

This session draws from the work of Boyd Roberts, the International Baccalaureate, Kaye Bercer and Verjee Begum and others.

Frances Hensley


Frances Hensley is one of the founders of the School Reform Initiative (SRI), a national and international professional learning organization that supports the development of professional learning communities in schools.

Dr. Hensley joined with other educators to create SRI as an organization dedicated to support the transformational learning of the adults in schools that leads to improved student achievement and equitable outcomes.

With degrees in K-8 education and adult education, she has engaged in collaborative learning with elementary, secondary and university teachers in schools across the USA and in international settings including Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City and London.  For more than twenty years, she was a faculty member (Emerita) in the College of Education at the University of Georgia, where she promoted school-university partnerships and collaborations. Prior to her tenure at the University of Georgia, Dr. Hensley directed a regional services program to support teachers and parents of special needs students and taught special needs students in elementary and middle school settings.

Dr. Hensley leads seminars on creating professional learning communities in schools, engaging in collaborative inquiry and developing facilitative leadership in local, regional, national and international settings. She has published various articles and a book related to adult collaboration and learning.

When not traveling the world, she resides in Athens, Georgia with her husband, who is also an educator.


Lynne Coleman

lynne coleman

Lynne Coleman began teaching in her hometown of Lewiston, Idaho, some 40 years ago. But it was in international schools that her dual passions for learning and adventure took root.

With degrees in English, art and English as an additional language, she loved the enthusiasm and excitement of secondary education and taught English both in the AP and the IB Diploma Programs as well as the German Abitur in Germany, and later in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Beijing. She accepted a role in senior administration as curriculum and professional development coordinator at Shanghai American School in Shanghai, China, in 2006 and continued in that role as Director of Educational Programs at Lincoln Community School in Accra, Ghana.

As an administrator and educational leader, she has worked with elementary and secondary teachers in professional dialogue about student learning – those experiences have been particularly enriched through work with the School Reform Initiative. She has experienced first-hand the power and excitement of collaborative adult learning.

Two-thirds of her career has been in international schools. Most recently she has joined Cornerstone Educational Consulting as consultant to international and U.S. schools as well as to businesses on topics ranging from creating and maintaining professional learning environments to differentiation, from pedagogical leadership to strategic planning and accreditation.