A Community of Practice
In my admin credential class on climate and culture, I recently learned the concept of a “community of practice.” This is a group of people who share a passion for something they do, and interact with each other in order to learn how to do it better.
I absolutely love this notion and how it is different from a classroom. So often as educators we have students who are in our class because they have to be there and not because they want to be there. As a high school English teacher, I have to work hard to win over those reluctant learners and convince them that I can be trusted to build the classroom into a real community of learners.
This starts with strongly sharing my values—them! They are why I am here and their learning is MY why. I don’t just tell, but also show them how I learn and how I am trying to help them to learn, it slowly becomes real. They learn to recognize that maybe I do know a thing or two and can help them get better at reading, writing, and maybe even thinking!
It takes a few weeks, but one great thing about the cohort model at TCSJ is that this community of practice helps strengthen my classroom community. The admin credential program has 3-hour classes twice per week. It may seem long, but it goes quickly because we all care about gaining the skills we need to lead a school. We all want to learn from the very real experiences of our instructors—and HOW they build community with us through conversations and teaching strategies.
Projects are collaborative. They require us to research not only online written content but by interviewing other professionals to learn from their experiences. I know that when my admin credential program is finished, I will not stop learning from TCSJ. They are proving themselves to be people I trust—people I will turn to for years to come as part of my community of practice.