Communities of practice or learning have been a focus of mine for some time as a means of social learning and as a pedagogical model which underpins a role for conversation in education.
I note that Dr Etienne Wenger is due to present at Coventry University in September at the iPED Conference and I particularly like two quotes - pulled out from his profile - which illustrate this point rather nicely!
"Curriculum is...... a constellation of communities...... contributing to the consitution of a field of inquiry"
"Communities of Practice..... a social disciplin of learning"
I am keen to understand more about the natural ways people learn and how we can capitalise on the current advances in technology to support this.
As Wenger seems to infer.... the imposed models of education we as a society have constructed to faciltiate the process of information transference - otherwise known as teaching - are based on the assumptions that a body of knowledge is a curriculum, that learning depends on teaching and that the classroom is the locus of learning and the rest of life its application.......
and this no-longer seems so appropriate?
Communities of practice offer a potential opportunity to open up previously imposed boundaries and dividers. However I am left wondering where the barriers to communication will lie now?
Is it right to assume that barriers to communication will centre on the fact that we are NOT all multilingual?
will the real difficulties (with readily accessible translators and text based communication channels) manifest themselves in disciplinary differences and lie in our inability to understand each other across our various disciplins or subject areas?
How crucial will being able 'to talk the same language' be in facilitating understanding and the joining forces to make effective progress?