The idea of growing a community of practice among my colleagues has steeped inside my morning cup. In his book, Cultivating Communities of Practice, Etienne Wenger describes a community of practice as “groups of people who share a concern, set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. They develop a unique perspective on their topic as well as a body of common knowledge, practices, and approaches.”
A community of practice within the field of education seems bigger than a professional learning community–my opinion. It is easy to connect with members of one’s PLC via twitter, conferences, and within the four walls of a school building to share ideas, expertise, and experiences. These exchanges are powerful and connecting with those who live and breathe our profession is profound. Yet, I ask you to think and ponder with me. Does the simple act of giving and receiving resources within a PLC create transformational change within a school?
I confidently say no.
The ideas shared in Wenger’s work leads me to believe that a community of practice within a school brings transformational change. A community of practice will grow a deeper understanding of instructional practices and improve student learning. This collective community meets to study classroom demonstration and to rehearsal instructional applications. A community of practice establishes a different model of professional development that kneads professional capital through shared investment and reflection. Establishing a community of practice creates a stronger heartbeat for a school.
So, how do I create a community of practice among my colleagues? Of course, this new idea is steeping. What are your thoughts or ideas?
Grab another cup,