A community of practice (CoP) is a network of people who share a common interest in a specific area of knowledge or competence and are willing to work and learn together over a period of time to develop and share that knowledge. The content of the discussion is driven by the participants, with support from a facilitator.
According to educational theorist Etienne Wenger, communities of practice are “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” He also believes that learning is a social activity and that people learn best in groups.
Are training hours awarded for CoP meetings?
Attendees will receive professional growth hours for their attendance, which can be used toward the requirement at Steps 3 and 4 with Quality for ME and will be accepted by Maine Child Care Licensing to meet yearly training requirements. Occasionally, elective training will be part of a CoP meeting, in which case MRTQ PDN will add that time to your Professional Development Profile in the MRTQ PDN registry.
CoP Roles, Expectations, Definitions, Purpose:
What is the Facilitator’s Role?
- Prepare in advance – Send out invite, agenda, copy resources that members have sent, and share supplemental evidence- based materials
- State objectives at the beginning of the event
- Remind/ Review the Community Expectations
- Guide the group in presenting and sharing information- Everyone may not talk but no one should feel excluded from the process
- Provide closure and review next steps
What are the CoP Member’s Roles?
- Members jointly share in the responsibility for preparation by providing information and resources for the CoP
- Members advance their personal and professional goals through participation in the community
- Members contribute to the community through their experiences, skills, and time
- Members contribute resources, ideas and activities during the meetings
Community Meeting Expectations:
- Start and end on time
- Mute/ silence all cell phones
- Listen to others (don’t interrupt)
- “Parking Lot” Ideas that don’t follow the agenda
- All ideas are good ideas
- One person talks at a time, Limit side conversations
- What is said here, stays here
- We only discuss issues over which we have direct control (ex. Regulations, Laws)
- Decisions are made by consensus
- Please do not discuss specifics about children and families you work with (or CoP colleagues) during our time together. Confidentiality is a cornerstone for inclusion and working with all people, but for people (children) with disabilities it is the law
- It is also something we will practice when talking about our own learning and experiences while we are working and learning together
- Please remember that what you share in our CoP has to adhere to this concept, no sharing children / family identifiable information
- Use pseudonyms; be non- specific when discussing potentially identifying family information
- Also remember that your colleagues may disclose personal information. Because we want everyone to feel comfortable, please don’t share it. This is good practice for keeping information confidential