“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”
This is taken from “Communities of Practice – a Brief Introduction” by Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner. It speaks directly to what I believe is happening at a school and district level, and even at a Provincial level when it comes to initiatives for the improvement of our education system here in Alberta.
Here at St. Angela, the educators and educational assistants share a common domain of interest – to improve the learning of our students, to support leadership building in every child and to use our faith as a Catholic School to filter what we are doing in our world.
Similarly, the educators of this school work together to help each other in regular Collaboration Days and professional development to support our craft as teachers in our classrooms. It is about the relationships we cultivate and the connection between these relationships which will make a noticeable difference within the classroom.
As well, it is about the ‘practice of teaching’, similar to what some would call the ‘practice of medicine’ or the ‘practice of law’. As the article states: ‘members of a community of practice are practitioners.’ We try things out. We work at changing what we have always done. We want to try new things. We want to make sure we are reaching every single child within their own specific learning style.
Alberta Education is asking us for input in Curriculum Redesign. This is but one of many ways for us to become communities of practice. Together, we can come up with even more effective ways of teaching our children (students). If we truly are leaders within a community of practice, we can make a difference, supporting the growth and effectiveness of our education system. I encourage all teachers and parents to become involved in a community of practice. It is a positive way to truly make a difference, not only for yourself but for our communities.