Monday, 2 October 2017

Applied Practice in Context - Week 25

Community of Practice

OK - What is a CoP?

A Community of Practice is not a new concept and Wenger writes that they are 'age-old' (Wenger 2011) phenomenon. Many organisations are using this concept deliberately to focus on knowing and learning which in turn is evidenced as Improving the performance of organisations.

What is my CoP? And How is it actually focussing on my knowing and my learning to improve my Teaching Practice?
  1. I belong to distinctly different CoP’s
  2. There is a CoP within my Syndicate and within my School and within my School’s Special Character.
  3. Over time my school has belonged to various Cop’s

To improve teaching practice THE COMMUNITY my school currently belongs to is a CoL Community of Learning called the Whitestone Hui Ako. It has been running for a year and so the progress so far has mainly been the founding by the involved Principals who have created a joint purpose and Focus for improving learning outcomes for students across the Community.  
There have been opportunities created within each school and across all schools for Experts to be employed from within our Community to provide a local dedicated resource enabling all teachers to reflect on, grow and improve their practice and in turn transform and enhance student outcomes.  
All teachers and schools have been encouraged and supported to begin reflecting on their personal practices using the Spiral of Inquiry model (Timperley et.al) for Personal Development in a chosen area of practice.

For me the most interesting thing so far is the discussion and feedback from all the individual teachers across the Community of Practice. We all go to work to help all our students achieve to the best of their ability.  That is the single most positive observation I have noted thus far.

We are growing our sense of Belonging to the community because of the interactions and support and vision which is both Visible, frequent and Collaborative in its delivery.
To develop Community PRACTICE we as practitioners  have been enabled to share resources, and  dialogue has been opened up where in the past there may have been barriers in place such as Professional Jealousy or guarding one’s own secrets to success. 

I think the leaders of our Whitestone Hui Ako Community of Practice have successfully begun to change the MINDSET of individual practitioners Management and Schools, and opened wide the concept of Collaboration across our Early childhood, Primary, and Secondary school participants.  
It has finally set the stage for some purposeful PLD.

References:
Etienne and Beverley Wenger-Traynor, 2015 Introduction to Communites of Practise.     http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice
Etienne and Beverley Wenger-Traynor, 2011 What is a Community of Practise?              http://wenger-trayner.com/resources/what-is-a-community-of-practice/
Carol Dweck, 2010 What is Mindset?                                   
Timperley, H., Kaser, L., & Halbert, J. (2014). A framework for transforming learning in schools: Innovation and the spiral of inquiry. Victoria: Centre for Strategic Education