Community of practice

Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger proposed the community of practice as a group of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. The characteristics of CoP can be divided into three, which are domain, community and practice. The domain represents area of shared interests or common ground between its members. The community creates the social aspect of learning. A strong community fosters interaction and encourages a willingness to share ideas. The practice represents the specific focus around which the community develops.

There are differences between a common community of interest and community of practice. In a community of interest groups, members are not necessarily experts or practitioners of the topic around the interest. For example, a Facebook group consisting of those who like gardening can just be a community of interest as they share a common hobby and not particularly having members who are expert botanists. A community of practice, in contrast, is a group of people who are active practitioners.

If it’s in the usual way, I would try to reflect and propose some suggestions on how to implement the learning theories in a classroom setting. But I find it a bit hard to link CoP into regular learning in the classroom. As learners in the classroom are not subject-matter specialists or practitioners of the same area of interest. Nevertheless, I will try to relate this to the teaching profession. With the development of technology and increasing interest in social media apps, teachers have found ways to build their community as a place to share knowledge and trade opinions and insight. There are many groups in Telegram app that cater to almost every subject available and acts as a basis of community of practice. For example, for English language teachers, the Telegram group “ group” has quite a large number of teachers in it. As of now, this group has more than 39,000 teachers sharing teaching materials and provide help to one another. I think that this group fits the three characteristics of CoP as all the teachers share the same domain or area of interest, a strong community that interacts and helps each other on matters such as lesson planning or teaching materials and the practice that represent the specific focus of the group, which is a platform to share materials or idea on teaching the English Language.    

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