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Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Definitely worth a slow, reflective reading.
Provides a lot of context for thinking about organizational learning.
I teach at a school that is part of the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) movement. Wenger's book has shed light on why "top-down" implementation of school improvement has failed. The guru of the PLC movement, Richard Dufour (2004), claims that the three big ideas of PLC's are ensuring that students learn, a culture of collaboration and a focus on results. It is in this context that I found Wenger's book valuable in understanding the poverty of the PLC movement.
Wenger claims that communities of practice are learning communities. Are Professional Learning Communities true learning communities as described by Wenger? The answer is no. In a learning community there is interplay between reification and participation. Reification is the artifacts and procedures of previous practice. Participation is the activity engaged in by the practitioner for the organization that results in reification. It is not an either/or model, but dualism. It is within this interplay that learning about practice and the ownership of meaning and identity formation takes place.
Teachers directed by their employer to become PLCs are required to make such large changes in their teaching practices that they become overwhelmed and lost in establishing new practices. The reason for this is that the PLC regime does not consider the requisite identity work and the time required for teachers to own the meaning of new practices. PLCs are not true learning communities.
What about schools? Wenger claims a community of practice emerges when an organization sets forth a structure to accomplish its goal: "...Read more ›
I found the book to be very thought provoking, but I would recommend his 2002 book, "Cultivating Communities of Practice," for practitioners.
Author of "Strategic Organizational Learning"
This book provides an outstanding philosophical guideline for making sense of the workplace and communities of practice. It is easy to divine practical solutions to common workplace issues and problems as you read it. His vignettes show mistakes that businesses make, and how the communities compensate. Preventing those mistakes in your business allows your communities to solve other problems. Additionally, you will understand where, why, and how your communities and how they help you, and because of this recognition, perhaps you can continuously remove the obstacles to their success.
A good companion book to "Communities of Practice" with respect to how people make meaning is Yankelovich's "The Magic of Dialogue."
My gripe is that there's a lot in this book. A lot. There could be whole books written on boundary, identities, organizational/education design, etc. I'm compelled to re-read this because I fear I missed a lot since it's just got a lot in it.
I really wish I had read this book before I started undergrad. Could've changed the way I think about how I learn.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this book the author explores the concept of organizational design from two perspectives of practice and identity and explores how those perspectives inform the creation of... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Taylor Ellwood
A very in depth look at the concept of community of practice. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the COP frameworkPublished on November 13, 2013 by James
I bought this book for use in a class at the University of Michigan (SI 422). While many of the topics presented and discussed are great, and very interesting, the book fails to be... Read morePublished on April 4, 2012 by chadwick
Must have for researchers on language socialization and work place language teaching. This book lies the very theoretical foundation for community of practice.Published on February 8, 2012 by Yi Zhang
Read this book for my master's research 5 years ago. I still feel the research outlined in this book is relevant today, in my current work. Besides that, it's a great read. Read morePublished on December 1, 2010 by Heather
This is a good resource for understanding organization and professional environments and the interactions that take place within these environments.Published on March 19, 2009 by aristar