The Role of Community of Practice (CoP) to Ensure Teacher Development and Sense of Professionalism: The Implication for University Teachers

Jeylan Wolyie Hussein

Abstract


A community of practice (CoP) is a set of people who ‘share a
concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, who deepen their
knowledge and expertise… by interacting on an ongoing basis’ (Wenger,
McDermott, & Snyder, 2002, p. 4). In the context of this paper, CoP refers to an
informal as well as semi-formal aggregation of professionals who have come
together to forge collaborative learning situation, which is an important step
toward fostering professional effectiveness and improving learners’ learning
achievement. CoP has long gained importance as a model and strategy for
improving teaching quality and for enhancing student learning outcomes. It
provides teachers the context to learn and grow together. Studies suggest that
there is a positive relationship between CoP, student achievement and teachers’
professional satisfaction. CoP involves diverse and interacting professional
learning practices and processes. Among the major professional learning
practices and processes are collective enquiry and collaborative
learning. Membership in CoP is characterized by strong professional and
emotional bonds between practitioners and their leaders. This paper discusses the
implication of CoP for facilitating professional development and supporting the
efforts toward collective capacity building in the university context. The paper
addresses institutional, attitudinal and orientational variables that prevent CoP
from becoming an effective source of professional growth. Finally, it tries to
address what should be done to create and sustain CoP and to enable and
empower university teachers to become informed and effective practitioners


Keywords


Teacher Development; Teacher professionalism; Community of Practice

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References


Blackmore, C. (Ed.). (2010). Social learning systems and communities of practice. Milton Keynes: The Open University Press.

Keppell, M.J. (2007). Instructional design: case studies in communities of practice. Hershey: Information Science Publishing.

Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saint-Onge, H. & Wallace, D. (2003). Leveraging communities of practice for strategic advantage. Butterworth: Amsterdam.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. C. Blackmore, (Ed.). Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Milton Keynes: The Open University Press.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Blackmore, C. (Ed.). (2010). Social learning systems and communities of practice. Milton Keynes: The Open University Press.

Keppell, M.J. (2007). Instructional design: case studies in communities of practice. Hershey: Information Science Publishing


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