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Revista Interamericana de Bibliografía (RIB)
Número: 1-4
Título: 1997
Sección: Reseñas Informativas / Informative Reviews

Thomas J. SERGIOVANNI. Building Community in Schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994. xxi, 219 p., figures, tables, references, index.

Both in and out of schools, people are experiencing a loss of community. In this book, Thomas J. Sergiovanni explains why a sense of community is so vital to the success of any school, and he shows what teachers, parents, and administrators can do to rebuild it. Through the eleven chapters of this book, Sergiovanni seeks to provide a view of community that teachers and principals can use to think about what community means to them and how they can work together to build community in their schools.

In Chapter One, the author critiques the traditional view of schools as formal organizations, pointing out that this view fails both the students and teachers because of the inability of schools to help students recover the loss of community that too many now experience. He offers a theory of community as an alternative that can help schools become communities by kinship — of place and of mind. In Chapter Two, he points out that though community may exist in many forms, the quality of relationships that administrators, teachers, and students experience is key. In Chapter Three, Sergiovanni provides examples of community by kinship, community of place, and community of mind by describing community building of two schools. Chapter Four discusses our need for community and why once community is offered, we willingly accept it.

The topic of Chapter Five is becoming a purposeful community. This means becoming places where members have developed a community of mind that bonds them together in a special way and binds them to a shared ideology. In Chapter Six emphasis is given to how shared purposes and values are translated into decisions about what should be taught in schools and how the curriculum should be organized.

In Chapter Seven, the author shows how the power of community can be used to help transform present discipline policies and classroom management practices that emphasize control over what students do into community strategies that help build moral character and teach active citizenship. The meaning of professional community is the theme of Chapter Eight, which defines and discusses professional virtue.

While Chapter Nine explores building a community of learners, Chapter Ten discusses what is involved when a school becomes a community of leaders. The emphasis is no longer on “power over” others but on “power to” accomplish shared visions and goals. The last chapter, Chapter Eleven, discusses how leadership itself is redefined. The heart of leadership in community is not so much doing but being.

This book is addressed to principals, teachers, superintendents, and others interested in building community. However, it is also addressed to scholars in educational administration as well as organizational theorists. In short, this book will be useful to people who are willing to change their basic ideas about schooling and about relationships within schools.


1. Estas reseñas fueron preparadas por las sugientes funcionarias de la Secretaría Ejecutiva para el Desarrollo Integral/These reviews were prepared by the following staff members of the Exeuctive Secretariat for Integral Development: María del Carmen Barreneche, María de Icaza, María Teresa Mellenkamp, y Rosario Villanueva Popovici.