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  1. 1. Bringing Communities of Practice (CoP) into Schools By: Yayan Andrian Sarmili
  2. 2. What is Communities of Practice (Cop)? Introduced by Lave and Wenger (1991)… CoP are everywhere. They are informal (natural) and have become a part of people’s lives as long as they existed (Wenger, 1998) …groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002, p. 4) Three characteristics of CoP; mutual engagement in a shared practice, the creation of a common repertoire, and the negotiation of a joint enterprise (Wenger, 1998) The keywords of CoP are Sharing, Deepening, Expertising, Interacting, a Shared Practice, a Common Repertoire, a Joint Enterprise and most important thing it exists naturally.
  3. 3. Communities of Practice Processes in Schools (A figure adapted from Tambi, 2013) or CoP Teachers Teachers Teachers Staff Teachers Staff Staff Staff
  4. 4. Why is CoP so Important for Schools? CoP can considerably enhance the exchange of expertise, information, collaboration and resources within organisations/schools that enable them to improve and attain their goals and objectives (Fontaine and Millen, 2004) CoPs can improve organisations/schools in five ways – through immediate problem solving, professional skill development, best practice promotion, retaining talent and by guiding strategy (Wenger & Snyder, 2000) Members of communities of practice are believed to be more efficient and effective conduits of information and experiences. While organizations tend to provide manuals to meet the training needs of their employees, CoP helps to foster the process of sharing among members which, in turn, helps them strengthen their skills on the job (Brown & Duguid, 1991) CoP saves time, as members of the community have tacit knowledge, which can be difficult to store and retrieve outside. For example, one person can share the best way to handle a situation based on his experiences, which may enable the other person to avoid mistakes and shorten the learning time.
  5. 5. Why do People do Communities of Practice? People within the organisations trusted each other, they care one to another, and for their identity (Davenport & Probst, 2002 in Tambi 2013) They have common knowledge to share, sense of collective identity and some overlapping values (Hislop, 2013 in Tambi, 2013)
  6. 6. What are the Components of CoP? Community of practice conceptualises learning as social participation which incorporates four deeply interconnected and mutually defining components to conceptualise learning. The components are community (learning as belonging), identity (learning as becoming), practice (learning as doing) and meaning (learning as experience) (Wenger, 1998) Three fundamental structural elements of Communities of Practice; domain, practice, and community (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002, p. 27-29) The domain refers to the common concern, set of problems, or passion about a topic that all members share and around which they organise. Practice represents the basic body of knowledge the group shares and builds. Members of a community of practice aim to deepen their knowledge and expertise on a certain topic by learning from each other. They share knowledge and learn from peers through practice. Members of a community of practice are practitioners. Community refers to a set of interpersonal relationships arising out of people’s mutual engagement in learning through practice. These relationships not only indicate members’ specific roles, but also refer to their reciprocal ties of accountability, dependency, trust, and communication. These bonds of connectivity, together with the community’s negotiated meanings and shared expertise, can be thought of as providing the cohesion that lends a community of practice its identity and coherence over time (anonymous)
  7. 7. Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP) What is Legitimate Peripheral Participation? Legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) describes how newcomers (apprentice) become experienced members (journeymen) and eventually become the experts in the community of practice (Lave & Wenger 1991) Through LPP, new teachers become members of a community initially by participating in simple and low-risk tasks that are less productive and further the goals of the community. Through peripheral activities, novices become acquainted with the tasks, vocabulary, and organizing principles of the community. Gradually, as new teachers become old timers (journey men), their participation takes forms that are more and more central to the functioning of the community. LPP suggests that membership in a community of practice is mediated by the possible forms of participation to which newcomers have access, both physically and socially. If newcomers can directly observe the practices of experts, they know and understand the broader context into which their own efforts fit (Lave & Wenger 1991). Apprentices (new comers), Journey men (old timers), Masters (experts)
  8. 8. How to foster Communities of Practice in Schools?  Identifying Potential CoPs  Making Infrastructure available to support them  Using New and non-traditional methods to measure the value of CoP (Davenport and Probst, 2002 in Tambi 2013)
  9. 9. Steps for a Successful Community of Practice Implementation What makes a community of practice succeed depends on the purpose and objective of the community as well as the interests and resources of the members of that community. However, Wenger, McDermott & Snyder suggest seven steps in adopting a successful Communities of Practice. 1. Design the community to evolve naturally. The nature of a Community of Practice is dynamic where the interests, goals, and members are subject to change, CoP forums should be designed to support shifts in focus. 2. Create opportunities for open dialog within and with outside perspectives. While the members and their knowledge are the CoP's most valuable resource, it is also beneficial to look outside of the CoP to understand the different possibilities for achieving their learning goals. 3. Welcome and allow different levels of participation; the core group who participate intensely in the community through discussions and projects and typically takes on leadership roles in guiding the group, the active group who attend and participate regularly, but not the leaders, the peripheral group who, while they are passive participants in the community, still learn from their level of involvement. 4. Develop both public and private community spaces. While CoP's typically operate in public spaces where all members share, discuss and explore ideas, they should
  10. 10. also offer private exchanges. Different members of the CoP could coordinate relationships among members and resources in an individualized approach based on specific needs. 5. Focus on the value of the community. CoP should create opportunities for participants to explicitly discuss the value and productivity of their participation in the group. 6. Combine familiarity and excitement. CoP should offer the expected learning opportunities as part of their structure, and opportunities for members to shape their learning experience together by brainstorming and examining the conventional and radical wisdom related to their topic. 7. Find and nurture a regular rhythm for the community. CoP should coordinate a thriving cycle of activities and events that allow for the members to regularly meet, reflect, and evolve. The rhythm, or pace, should maintain an anticipated level of engagement to sustain the vibrancy of the community, yet not be so fast-paced that it becomes unwieldy and overwhelming in its intensity. (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder 2002)
  11. 11. Supportive factors to sustaining a successful Communities of Practice Social presence Communicating with others in a community of practice involves creating social presence. Tu (2002) defines social presence as "the degree of salience of another person in an interaction and the consequent salience of an interpersonal relationship" (p. 38). It is believed that social presence affects how likely an individual is of participating in a COP. Motivation Motivation to share knowledge is critical to success in communities of practice. Members are motivated to become active participants in a CoP when they view knowledge as meant for the public good, a moral obligation and as a community interest (Ardichvilli, Page & Wentling 2003). Collaboration Collaboration is essential to ensuring that communities of practice thrive. A higher level of collaboration indicates more knowledge exchange in an organisation (Sveiby & Simon 2002)
  12. 12. Downsides of the Communities of Practice  Can be self-producing like members restrict themselves to one kind of knowledge  Can trigger unfavourable group processes like deafness to outside criticism (social prestige)  Development of language and culture can lead isolation (Davenport & Probst, 2002 in Tambi 2013)  They can keep the knowledge from those who do not belong to their communities/groups.  They limit innovation as they only focused on the interests of those who benefited to their communities as innovation in their practice.  They hold others hostage to their expertise as they prevent others to enter their communities of practice (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder 2002)
  13. 13. Effective Communities of Practice  Do mentoring relationship exist? Are new comers integrated effectively?  Gender, age, ethnicity, and education background of the CoP: Do social characteristics fragment the groups?  Project staffing: Is cross-fertilisation of ideas happening across key initiatives?  Employee status: are we learning from experts and creating a context where new or temporary employees succeed?  Task interdependence: are roles and processes streamlined, or do they overload people or entire networks? (Cross & Parker, 2004 in Tambi, 2013)
  14. 14. References Ardichvilli, A., Page, V. and Wentling, T. (2003). Motivation and barriers to participation in virtual knowledge sharing in communities of practice. Journal of knowledge management 7 (1): 64–77. Brown, J.S. and Duguid, P. (2000). Balancing act: How to capture knowledge without killing it. Harvard Business Review. Davenport, T.H. and Prusak, Lawrence (2000). Working knowledge. How organizations manage what they know, 2nd Edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Sveiby, K.E; Simon, R. (2002). Collaborative climate and effectiveness of knowledge work: an empirical study. Journal of Knowledge Management 6 (5): 420–433. Tu, C.H. (2002). The management of social presence in an online learning environment. International Journal on E- learning. April–June: 34–45. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Wenger, E., McDermott, R. and Snyder, W.M. Cultivating Communities of Practice. Boston, Massachusetts. USA: Harvard Business School Press Wenger, E. and Snyder, W.M. (2000), Communities of practice: the organizational frontier, Harvard Business Review, January-February, pp. 139-45.