Week 25: My Community of Practice

Identifying My Community

Initially I was unsure what a community of practice was, and where I belonged with regard to this.  I assumed that my school colleagues were one community and my technology team was another, that the students were a sub group of one of these,  and my Mindlab intake yet another community I belonged to. I am a member of Twitter and Google+ and I occasionally look at the VLN for specific information, so I looked at these as yet more communities I was apart of.

After watching the video Cultivating communities of practice: Making them grow (Knox 2009), I realise that my community of practice is the people that I interact regularly with, about topics we are passionate about. Upon reading Wenger’s (2000) description about communities I find that I am now thinking more of my community as the people that I discuss my teaching practice and ideas with. This is a smaller, but wider, group. It was interesting to read in Wenger (2000) that communities of practice have been around forever, and are essential not only for our learning, but also ensuring best practice is maintained. This makes sense to me as through discussion with others you review and refine your own ideas and practice.

As such, I now feel my community includes some staff, teachers from other schools that I interact with, and people on my Twitter network that I ‘listen’ to. These are small groups that make up the whole. The students are the ones who benefit from my interactions in my community, but are not part of the community.

Domain

What is our shared inquiry?

How can we exposure students to new learning to allow them to be future ready? This is with particular emphasis on digital aspects e.g. coding, 3D design, robotics, making games, digital portfolios etc…

How can we develop student agency? By developing a sense of agency we are creating ownership independence. This leads to the first goal, being future ready.

Community

What relationship does my community have?

My relationship with the groups within my community range from weekly meetings to discuss practice or latest theories, to informal chats over coffee, to being a ‘lurker’ on Twitter posts, occasionally contributing interesting articles or images.

Practice

What shared ideas does my community produce?

Through discussing assessment rubrics with one group of my community we have been able to develop an assessment and reporting rubric for the technology department.

By discussing best practice for student engagement I have been able to implement Google Classroom successfully into my classroom programme.

Through discussions around programme content, and how to best apply the curriculum, the students are getting the best possible learning opportunities.

As with everything, these conversations are ongoing, leading to a constantly evolving programme, and therefore differing learning opportunities, for my students.

What is my practice within my community of practice?

Within my community I am comfortable to interact openly and honestly, stating when I have no idea of what to do, when I don’t understand, or to share successes and ideas that I have learned through research or PD. As such, I feel I can take on a variety of roles, either as a leader, an active member, a newbie or even as a facilitator, depending on the content being discussed, or the forum. My face to face interactions allow me to have a greater range of roles, whereas I am new to the Twitter learning community, so I tend to have a newbie role, often ‘lurking’.

The concept of communities of practice has been interesting to read about and discuss. I have changed my thinking around the idea, and realise the importance of being a part of an active one.

References

Knox, B. (2009, December 4).Cultivating Communities of Practice: Making Them Grow.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhMPRZnRFkk

Wenger, E.(2000).Communities of practice and social learning systems.Organization,7(2), 225-246 (Link to the article in Unitec Library).

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4 thoughts on “Week 25: My Community of Practice

  1. Hi there. I’m a hard materials teacher at an intermediate. I sort of see a tech teachers community of practice as concentric circles with each layer (tech team, school, other schools etc…) around the previous with the lines between blurred, moving back and forwards depending on your engagement with that group. A shared idea that our tech team has had was to have consistency in relation to the terms and language used across all classes.

    Like

    1. Hi there, yes I agree that a consistent language across all classrooms is important. We have looked at the idea of a graphic in all rooms which shows how each of us ‘techs’ relate to each other and the common language between us. With no real information around on the new digital technology aspect, it has been hard to know which direction to progress in. Good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi David,

    I like you also found that my community of practice was a lot smaller than I had originally thought. It is great to see that you also found it to be quite narrow. I realised through reading and viewing the required materials that my community of practice was mostly made up like-minded individuals whom I could discuss teacher and learning with.

    I was shocked to discover that not all of my staff would be in my community of practice because we don’t share the same pedagogy, values or views on education. This got me thinking about the effectiveness of teachers in schools who may all feel they are in different communities of practice. This must pose some challenges and issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree challenges would arise where all teachers didn’t share the same pedagogy or views. It then begs the question, should all staff work together to develop a strong COP within the school, would this ultimately benefit the students?

      Like

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