Day 3 of our +TeachThought blogging challenge! (I had a computer meltdown so I'm a day late with this one!).
DEVELOPING A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
I'm not in the classroom at the moment but that doesn't stop me learning and having a thirst for knowledge - (when do we ever stop learning?!) or from being heavily involved in education. I'm always after feedback on what I can do better, what I can improve on.
This past year has been a little different for me in terms of what I usually do. I'm using this 'time out' to finish my Masters and work with teachers to develop their eLearning programmes in their schools. I've also been incredibly fortunate to become involved with the TeachThought group and am responsible for helping to build a strong online community of practice which is where the blogging challenge comes in, in part.
I need and expect feedback from the teachers I work with as this is how I can be a reflective practitioner and improve on what I do.
The one area I want to improve in and develop is in how I work to develop a community of practice that encourages ownership, motivates people to belong and creates a community of collaborative, reflective practitioners from around the globe. For this to be successful I will need critical feedback about what is working and what improvements I need to do better to make this learning community work for every individual in it -not just for the majority...for everyone.
This diagram explains it well...
Professional learning for teachers is changing. One and two-day courses do not, generally, provide professional learning that is sustainable once we're back in the classroom. For professional learning to work it needs to be timely, relevant and challenge us to always strive for best practice so that our students can achieve to the highest possible level for them individually. We learn best in a community where we can share our practice, our thinking and beliefs and challenge each other's thinking to be the best we can be. Trust, mutual respect and collaboration to create new knowledge are key. I firmly believe that communities of practice - particularly online communities which are limited to time and place and that can be accessed any time, any where, are the future of professional learning for us. Instead of professional learning being 'done to us', we are in charge of creating and sharing our own learning as a powerful community.
Below is a video of Etienne Wenger, one of the developers of the communities of practice theory, explaining what it is.