Communities of Practice (CoP) for building connections: Learning and sharing of practice in and between schools

By Judy Bruce

Tārai Kura is establishing opportunities for schools to participate in communities of practice around context specific themes that meet current needs.

As Tārai Kura Ringa Whao work alongside a growing number of new schools and those undergoing major redevelopment, there are opportunities for the cross pollination of thinking through communities of practice. This is the opportunity to explore practice around quality teaching, learning and collaboration, and to help leaders and staff consider strategies for implementation in their own context. 

What is a community of practice?

A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do better as they interact regularly”. Etienne Wenger

Tārai Kura communities of practice will support principals and other leaders by building capability and capacity to manage change through deepening understanding of change leadership within their own schools.

Through CoP, Ringa Whao will facilitate schools to learn and create new knowledge together within context-specific forums. The CoP will support schools to share this knowledge back into their communities through social practice.

Principals’ CoP: Principals of new schools have identified the need to establish a community of practice with other principals of new schools, as early as possible into their appointment. This practice enables the sharing of processes, the ability to work through shared problems of practice, and the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and from those who have gone before them

The goal of the principals’ CoP is to ensure these networks between the principals are well established in order to support the facilitation of wider community networking between teaching staff employed within the communities’ schools. A fully developed community of practice network will be implemented through a staged approach throughout the birth and growth of a new school community.

Future CoP: For many of our schools, the challenges of supporting staff to optimise the use of collaborative pedagogies to enhance learning for ākonga and for staff is a keen area of focus. For our growing number of secondary schools coming on board, the challenges of developing more flexible and personalised ways of working to better equip ākonga for the future, is a dominant theme.

In the coming weeks, we will be contacting you to discuss your interest in participating in a CoP in 2022. For many of our schools, we envision that initially this will be networking at a principal or senior leadership team level, as you continue to clarify your own learning beliefs and values in this new setting. However, it is hoped that as teachers begin to explore new practices, the focus will shift to involving teachers learning together, “road testing”, evaluating and documenting examples of practice that support schools long term goals and vision for their ākonga.

By Carolyn Marino

If you would like to know more or have questions please contact Carolyn Marino, Ringa whao, Tārai Kura