Content Image


The Pedagogy of Possibilities: Developmental Education, College-Level Studies, and Learning Communities

Learning communities for developmental students may differ from other learning communities in one critical respect: we need to address students’ approaches to learning explicitly. Challenging curriculum—especially focused on the theme of learning—supports students in a deep and enduring way by giving them the means to critique their school experience from a new position, that of an able learner.
  Gillies Malnarich

Gillies Malnarich, with Ben Sloan, Phyllis van Slyck, Pam Dusenberry, and Jan Swinton. National Learning Communities Project monograph series. 2003.

This publication invites developmental educators and learning community practitioners to create challenging and supportive learning environments for academically underprepared students. Research-based best practices in developmental education provide a rationale for adopting an approach to learning communities for developmental students that intentionally targets "high-risk curriculum"—curricular trouble spots where students typically flounder and fail—with the intent of designing learning communities as an intervention strategy for student success. Nine case studies and numerous examples illustrate this approach.

Gillies Malnarich

Gillies Malnarich

Section One

Gillies Malnarich

Chapter 1: Taking a Risk to Learn: What It Means to be "Prepared" for Higher Education

Chapter 2: Adopting a Developmental Perspective in the Academy: Practices that Support and Enhance Student Learning

Chapter 3: Creating Supportive and Challenging Learning Environments: The Learning Community Experience

A Call for Action

Section Two

Learning Community Case Studies

Drawing Lessons Early On: The Learning Community Factor in Teaching and Learning
Ben Sloan, Fayetteville Technical Community College

Learning More, Learning Better: Developmental and ESL Learning Communities
Phyllis van Slyck, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York

College Knowledge: Creating Meaningful Preparatory Curriculum
Pam Dusenberry, Shoreline Community College

Learning How to Learn: A Foundation for Developmental Learning Communities
Jan Swinton, Spokane Falls Community College

Learning Community Snapshots

Gillies Malnarich

General Education First Year Cluster Program: California State University, Hayward 

Learning in Communities (LinC) Program: De Anza College

Project Success: Grossmont Community College

Tribal Environmental and Natural Resources Management (TENRM) Program: Northwest Indian College, Lummi Nation

Circle of Learning for Entering Students: University of Texas at El Paso

Section Three

Additional Resources


Order this monograph

Cost: $15