CoP: Getting Started 3

CoP: Getting Started 3
Forming a Community of Practice
• Based upon the work of Etienne Wenger
• Communities of Practice (COP) 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
• Website:
IDEA Partnership: Another View of COP
• A Community of Practice (CoP) is quite
simply a group of people that agree to
interact regularly to solve a persistent
problem or improve practice in an area
that is important to them.
• A New Approach to Solving Complex
Educational Problems
– Cashman, J., Linehan, P., & Rosser, M. (2007). Communities of Practice: A new
approach to solving complex educational problems. Alexandria, VA: National
Association of State Directors of Special Education.
The Community and its
practice groups
• The community keeps the members focused on
the big picture of behavioral health
• The practice groups keep the community
sensitized to the dimensions of the issues
• Together, the community and the practice
make connections
invite participation
create and share knowledge
change practice!!!
COPs involve sharing....
decision making
problem solving
COPs are not successful
because of like-minded
they are successful because of
shared passion.
3 Critical Elements to a COP
Reference: Etienne Wenger
• The Domain
– A “shared identify” that unifies the community
• The Community
– Members building relationships & helping each
other. Members engaging in shared dialogues,
activities, and information and resource sharing.
• The Practice
– Practitioners with a shared repertoire of resources
that interact for a shared purpose.
5 Critical Functions
Reference: Etienne Wenger
• Educate
– Collecting and disseminating information related to problems of
• Support
– Provide a method for communicating and interacting (eg. Wiki
worksite,, etc.)
• Cultivate
– Assist a group in “getting going” and sustaining a positive “rhythm
of interaction”
• Encourage
– Promote the work and accomplishments of the community by
talking about the work
• Integrate
– Involve and integrate the community work in the policies and
decision-making of the organization

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