Communities of Practice, Learning Communities, and Communities of BC
Communities of Practice at its heart describes a group of people who share a profession or craft. One of the primary focus of the community’s activities relates to the sharing of information and experience from seasoned community members to newbies. This type of sharing can happen anywhere- in a clubhouse, in the field, or in our case, in a classroom or learning environment. These activities also reflect traditional apprenticeship programs, where newbies start by doing essentially labor. As laborers gain experience and knowledge, they progress to the status of journeyman, and finally master. This type of learning exists in the trades and in academic knowledge.
Learning Communities as described by mathematician and learning theorist Seymour Papert are similar to CoP, but with some exceptions. Whereas Communities of Practice are built around a group of people who share a profession, discipline or craft, often within formal learning environment (a school), Learning Communities often describe an environment of multiple disciplines situated within and as part of a natural, social community. Papert describes a Brazilian samba school as an example. Here a multi-generational, multi-gender group of people come together to practice, teach and learn. multiple disciplines, such as dancing, singing, writing music, making costumes, and sets from each other. And existing social community comes together to meld informal and formal aspect of learning in natural setting.
Practice and Classroom Strategies
Learning is often best accomplished in a group or community- both formal and informal), and BC is home to multiple communities of learners, some formal, some informal.
What are some of the ways that BC supports and encourages communities of practice in and out of the classroom?