I'm @kiwiallana and have enjoyed growing as a teacher at Springston School for 10 years.
Who is my community of practice'?
According to Wenger, everyone participates in a range of communities of knowing or practice (CoP). They share a passion and interact on a regular basis to promote a common goal. This is where new learning is brought to challenge and develop the growth of the community. My CoP focus on education and include school, cluster, Wananga of Aotearoa, Twitter, Feuerstein, and colleagues on the Mind Lab course.
The purpose and function of my practice is education, including the promotion of Te Reo, effective use of ICT and best learning outcomes for students. Within school we discuss student learning needs but I find my most effective exchanges to be within groups that have formed for a specific purpose: The Feuerstein Method, The Mindlab Course and most effectivelly - Twitter.
While colleagues in my Twitter CoP are scattered around the world, they challenge me to question my practice, read current books and apply theories to improve my teaching with our common goal of improving outcomes for all students.
My best ideas come from Twitter and include Daily 5, Positive Mindset, The Learning Pit, and blogging. While I feel more like a lurker, I do share reflections, Te Reo Resources, conference notes and am becoming more active in discussions about educational issues. Twitter leads to great connections at the #educhatnz conference and #educamps - a place to meet many current Mindlab students.
So why reflect?
Part of being in a CoP is to reflect on my practice against the lense of colleagues and educational theories. Finlay (2009) suggests that being critically aware means identifying and challenging my assumptions - essential for lifelong learning. Schon (in Finlay 2009) suggests it takes place after an event but also when I actively reflect and adjust my actions during an event. This core belief fits well as I explicitly teach students to reflect using the language of learning. Reflection is the foundation of recognising that all cognitive function and behaviour are modifiable and that we can achieve anything that is broken into achievable steps. This belief system forms the foundation of the Feuerstein Method. My practice also depends heavily on Dweck’s (2006) positive mindset and utilising a range of learning strategies to help both teacher and student work their way out of Nottingham’s Learning Pit. (2013) The joy comes in seeing that the beliefs I have about effective learning for students also apply to my own life.
There are heaps more key belief systems that pervade my teaching such as Kaitiakitanga and building relationships, but we have run out of space to discuss them.
Reflecting in the form of a blog has always helped me organise my thoughts, be accountable for my intentions and share the journey with my CoP.
Dawson, P. Reflective Practice. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1aYWbLj0U8
Dweck, C. S, (2006). Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd
Finlay, L. (2009) Reflecting on reflective practice. PBPL. Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/files/opencetl/file/ecms/web-content/Finlay-%282008%29-Reflecting-on-reflective-practice-PBPL-paper-52.pdf
Nottingham. J, (2013), The Learning Pit, in Challenging Learning retrieved Janurary 12, 2016, from the World Wide Web: http://www.jamesnottingham.co.uk/phpmedia/docs/6f5f268913a78d598e6e93cddd1c3e49.pdf
Wenger, E.(2000).Communities of practice and social learning systems.Organization,7(2), 225-246Wenger, E., & Trayner-Wenger, B. (2015). Communities of practice: a brief introduction. April 2015, 1–8. http://doi.org/10.2277/0521663636