What Is a Community of Practice?

Book chapter


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
AuthorsMcDonald, Jacquelin and Mercieca, B.
Abstract

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.

KeywordsCommunity of Practice; Higher education; Secondary schools; Landscapes of Practice; Social Learning Space; Online networks; Leadership
Page range1-19
Year01 Jan 2021
Book titleSustaining Communities of Practice with Early Career Teachers: Supporting Early Career Teachers in Australian and International Primary and Secondary Schools, and Educational Social Learning Spaces
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Place of publicationSingapore
ISBN978-981-33-6353-3
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-33-6354-0_1
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-33-6354-0_1
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Feb 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Jan 2024
Additional information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021.

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Related outputs

Sustaining Online Teacher Networks
Mercieca, B. and McDonald, Jacquelin. (2021). Sustaining Online Teacher Networks. 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. 65-97 Springer Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-33-6354-0_4
Early career teacher peer support through private groups in social media
Mercieca, Bernadette Mary and Kelly, Nick. (2018). Early career teacher peer support through private groups in social media. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. 46(1), pp. 61 - 77. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359866X.2017.1312282