GoogleTranslate Service


Communities of Practice #altsep12

October 11th, 2012 by Cristina Costa

Thursdays have now become one of my favourite days of the week. … this because it is the day we meet colleagues participating in the ALT Module and I am having a ball taking part in this (having said that, I must say I have started to like Wednesday a lot too – that’s the day I work with the GTAs :-) )

These last weeks have brought me back to my days in the Navy where I used to teach. I missed having contact with a group of people from different backgrounds for an extended period of time. I like the experience. I enjoy the interaction.

OK, back to the title of this post…

This week we explored the concept of Communities of Practice (CoP) and what it means in education. [I didn’t mention it, but CoPs is one of my pet topics. I did research on an online CoP for my MPhil and this has always been a topic very close to my heart because it is about people, and how they come together to learn with and from each other.]

Five of the ALT participants (Action Learning Set 1) facilitated the entire session. It was a magnificent experience. Not only did they negotiate the planning of the session and the different activities amongst themselves, they approached the topic with class. I liked the diversity of activities, the risks they took, and the way they managed and encouraged discussion. I loved it. I thought it was a huge success!

Some points I would like to reflect on:

  • Building on last week’s topic, participation is a key aspect of communal learning.  When Lave and Wenger (1991) started looking at how learning happens in social and informal contexts they noticed that learning involves participation, active participation!

“Participation refers not just to local events of engagement in certain activities with certain people, but to a more encompassing process of being active participants in the practices of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities” (Wenger 1999, p.4)

 

As part of their research Lave and Wenger (1999) also noticed that individual’s participation in a community evolves as individuals become more confident to contribute to the development of the community. At first individuals engage in what Lave and Wenger call legitimate peripheral participation. Individuals remain at the margin of the community life, participating in low risk activities until they develop the confidence to fully participate.

 

  • Identity: as individuals move into the core of the community, individuals acquire a strong sense of belonging. In so doing, they develop an identity as a member of that community.  They identify themselves with the epistemologies of practices shared by the community. Consequently, they share similar approaches to practice.

  • Learning networks are different from CoPs in that CoPs feature stronger social bonds amongst  CoP members than members of a network. Networks can be defined as people sharing the same social space but who are not necessarily driven by the same practices. Yet, this offers something that is often lost, or at least less evident in communities: diversity. In networks individuals congregate around different interests and not necessarily around common practices. As a result, networks may feature a wider range of critical approaches regarding the same topic of discussion given the diversity of its members.

With the emergence of the web as a social space for interaction and collaboration, we are able to tap into different networks, learn from them, and bring that learning into our communities. Individuals belonging to the same community will be linked to different networks. The knowledge acquired in those networks can benefit and shape the learning of the community members.

 

  • As part of my research, I looked at curriculum within a community of practice. Given that communities of practice as usually informal social learning systems, there isn’t a set curriculum or planned activities. As such, the community is the curriculum, i.e., its members set their own learning outcomes which are motivated by their own learning needs regarding their own purposes or the reasons that brought them together in the first place. In so doing, community members develop a shared repertoire based on a joint enterprise and mutual engagement.

 

  • Socialisation is the glue of a CoP. People develop trust, and identify affinities that go beyond their initial purpose of learning something together. The CoP  I studied, the Webheads in Action, a CoP of EFL educators have come up with a saying that expresses it very well: sharing is caring.And indeed it is. Only if we contribute with our ideas, experiences and even questions will people acknowledge our presence. That is sharing. And at the same time it is also caring, because in the process of sharing our knowledge and developing our learning we not only take (what others know) but we also give (what we know) back to the community.

Please follow and like us:

Comments are closed.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    Social Media




    News Bites

    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Please follow and like us:


    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Please follow and like us:


    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Please follow and like us:


    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    Please follow and like us:


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

      Please follow and like us:
  • Twitter

    I hate eduction now being sold as a commodity for #BlackFriday. #Babel - you one of the guilty ones

    About 5 days ago from Graham Attwell's Twitter via Twitter for Mac

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories