I have been asked to write three most important reasons that make me appreciate a community of practice, why I find some communities more useful to my needs as a teacher than others.
I believe that three main elements that are essential in a CoP are:
- It is a group of people coming from various backgrouds, with various levels of expertise in teaching, both mentors and mentees. It is important because it makes it possible to see every problem from different angles and get different perspectives. Every discussion is more fruitful.
- The atmosphere is the one of collaboration and sharing, the willingness to help and ask for help. Even if there are differences in age and expertise, teachers don't feel they will be asking a stupid question if there is anything they need help with.
- Most of the teachers are active. They care about the community and believe in the power of the community: projects are started, surveys done, papers read and discussed, members comment on one another's blogs and it is easy to get feedback.
These are my two cents :)
I am looking forward to reading other teachers' opinions.