Communities of Practice

1. How would describe the concept of Communities of Practice in three sentences?

A community of practice is a collective of practitioners with a shared interest interacting regularly. The community acts as a catalyst for learning, either intentionally or incidentally. Members of the community transfer knowledge and experience of their practice through sharing resources, techniques, tools and information, which cultivates and nourishes the community into a fertile learning environment.

2. How do you think Etienne Wenger’s ideas about Communities of Practice might relate to your own teaching practice, including your forthcoming studies on the PG Cert?

Applying the Communities of Practice model to my own teaching practice highlights methods to enhance a learning environment. By being aware of the social cohesion within a group dynamic effects and prompts different learning systems. Through encouraging discourse, collaboration, knowledge sharing, peer-to-peer evaluation and support networks within the group assist in increasing the effectiveness of learning.

To reappraise the hierarchical educational structure the students are familiar with by suggesting learning does not just exist with the classroom context; encouraging regular visits to relevant exhibitions, museums and widening their frame of reference.

The framework of the PG Cert introduced in the L&TAD Orientation Session illustrated parallels with the Communities of Practice idea. The ‘Learning Groups’, collaborative online activities, self and peer assessments, teaching observations all prompt a collective and collaborative learning arena. It establishes a Community of Practice and awaits the practitioners and subsequent learning…

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