What Is a Community of Practice?
McDonald, Jacquelin and Mercieca, B.. (2021). What Is a Community of Practice? In Sustaining Communities of Practice with Early Career Teachers: Supporting Early Career Teachers in Australian and International Primary and Secondary Schools, and Educational Social Learning Spaces pp. 1-19 Springer Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-33-6354-0_1
|McDonald, Jacquelin and Mercieca, B.
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of people who come together to share their practice and learn with and from each other. They are united by a domain or joint enterprise and a shared concern. As they continue to meet, their knowledge deepens and they become more skilled as they participate in learning loops, where shared practice is taken back to the workplace, implemented and then returned to the community for more feedback, then the learning loop begins again. Although many secondary schools and higher education institutions are beginning to explore this form of collaborative endeavour—under a variety of names such as Personal Learning Teams (PLTs) or Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) or Collegial or Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs)—it is not always easy to sustain these groups over a number of years or ensure that they continue to develop and grow, which is the focus of this book. This chapter provides the theoretical underpinnings for the concept of CoPs as developed by Wenger and the Wenger-Trayner partnership and other CoP researchers and practitioners, which informs the implementation of CoPs in secondary and higher education. Discussion includes the more recent understanding of Landscapes of Practice, Social Learning Spaces and online networks that are illustrated in other chapters. Practical advice is provided on the different forms of CoPs as they have emerged in higher education and secondary schools, how they function and can be evaluated. The theoretical underpinnings for the concept of CoPs provide the framework for subsequent discussion in the following chapters, about how CoPs support Early Career Teachers (ECTs) as they begin their professional teaching career. This will be more clearly articulated in Chapter 2.
|Community of Practice; Higher education; Secondary schools; Landscapes of Practice; Social Learning Space; Online networks; Leadership
|01 Jan 2021
|Sustaining Communities of Practice with Early Career Teachers: Supporting Early Career Teachers in Australian and International Primary and Secondary Schools, and Educational Social Learning Spaces
|Place of publication
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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|Published as non-open access
|Research or scholarly
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|02 Feb 2021
|Publication process dates
|25 Jan 2024
© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021.
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