A nationwide group of Learner-Centered Collaborative partners discussing and sharing ideas around assessment practices.
As learner-centered educators, helping our students engage in their learning, create meaningful relationships with their peers, and be the leader of their own learning experience is at the core of what we do. In order for us to enable these conditions for our students, we must first enable the conditions for ourselves. A Community of Practice is an effective, 60-minute workshop protocol that can be used with students and educators to do just that! Utilized with our partners just last month, they’ve already begun to see the positive impact of a collective learning experience, and the actionable benefits they walked away with.
Below, we’ll explore three benefits of this protocol and tips for running and making the most of your next Community of Practice.
1. Hear from other educators
During a Community of Practice, educators have a chance to discuss their classroom experiences. Focusing on a specific topic (i.e. assessment, student engagement, parent engagement), teachers are able to share celebrations and struggles, and to discuss and troubleshoot with colleagues. Often, educators bring student artifacts, and current challenges, so they are able to walk away with actionable next steps. These collaborative discussions provide an opportunity to strengthen instructional practices, peer-to-peer relationships, and staff morale.
2. See exemplars of learner-centered practices
In addition to hearing from other educators, the Community of Practice sets the stage to present concrete examples for educators to view, interact with, and take back to their classrooms. Having a template, or exemplar, to work from allows teachers to better understand what it looks like to integrate learner-centered strategies into their practices. Appealing to multiple learning styles and levels of practice, an exemplar provides teachers with a north star for what success with their students can look like. During a recent partner Community of Practice, we focused on how to strengthen our assessment practices. A teacher shared the following example of how they’ve incorporated reflection questions for students after each activity. Check it out below.
Sample refection questions from El Segundo Unified School District.
Educators then have an opportunity to engage in conversation about the steps they can take to implement their learnings, and how they can be customized to meet the needs of their specific group of learners.
Download our Guide to Running Effective PLCs to help you plan, run, and document progress in team meetings.
3. Expand your learner-centered network
A Community of Practice increases the opportunity for collaboration and opens space for an authentic, meaningful, relevant learning experience. Through collaboration, participants have an opportunity to make connections and build relationships with their fellow colleagues, growing their educational network and social capital. Given that our partners are located throughout the country, our Communities of Practice help forge relationships between communities nationwide. Through sharing and discussing ideas and artifacts, educators are able to strengthen their skills of both giving and receiving feedback. They’re able to lean in as listeners, learners, and participants all at once.
A Community of Practice is an hour-long investment that returns lifelong connections. A multi-level learning experience, it gives educators an opportunity to learn from and with one another, discuss their classroom experiences, and strengthen their instructional practices.
Learn more about our interactive educator, school, and district collaborations.