Community of Practice: Everything You Need to Know
This refers to a set of teachers who are deeply passionate about something they are involved in or in the work they typically perform. These teachers and educators form a tightly knit group to discuss how best to function. The Community of Practice is also referred to as collective education or a personal learning network. Here, groups of people are informally connected by their shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise and share their ideas and concerns to develop their practice.
In the domain of education, a community of practice helps teachers with shared interests work toward achieving the same objective. Etienne Wenger – a scholar and education practitioner, coined the term “Community of Practice.” He described it as a group of people who are passionate about something common and know how to do it better and with whom they should regularly interact to learn how they can do it better.
Teachers and educators rarely get chances for collaboration and reflection with others outside their departmental team or grade level. For them, a community of practice can act as a living curriculum. Typically, a community of practice happens at the workplace. For example, educators and teachers can talk about learning strategies or specific teaching situations in staff rooms or corridors. However, in today’s global village that’s extremely well-connected, thanks to modern technology, communities of practice can happen almost anywhere. Thus, one can experience them online in forums, discussions, or support groups on social media platforms. An example could be Twitter chats, where educators and teachers discuss particular topic areas, collaborate, and share the best practices. Just like physical communities of practice, their virtual counterparts offer educators and teachers an opportunity to connect around similar passions, topics, and areas of expertise.
Communities of practice have several benefits. By connecting educators and teachers from around the world, they can help them learn from the experiences of others. They even facilitate collaboration, sharing of knowledge and information to solve real problems, asking questions, getting instant feedback, troubleshooting common issues with others, and discussing go-to global lesson plans and favorite technology tools. Thus, communities of practice encourage and aid authentic and direct engagement between adult learners while offering them diverse learning experiences. All these will boost their confidence and leadership skills while creating a long-lasting impact on teacher practice and student learning.
In a way, communities of practice can create the groundwork for uniting the world through global education.