Criterion 1 · Criterion 2 · Criterion 5 · Criterion 7 · Mindlab reflections · Professional Development

My Community of Practice

“Communities of practice,” a term coined by Etienne Wenger, is explained as: “groups of people who share a concern or a passion or about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interaction on an ongoing basis” (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002, p.4).

Communities of practice interact and learn together.

My COP is the English department at Whangaparaoa College. The purpose of my practice is to assist our learners to achieve. As a department, we regularly meet and discuss how we can help our learners by using E-Asttle and Kamar data to inform our discussion. We are also learning how to use technology effectively to enable our pedagogy. I contribute to my COP by facilitating workshops and discussions and encouraging others to share their ideas and experiences.

The core values of Whangaparaoa College are:

  1. The high importance of learning
  2. Valuing the individual
  3. Challenging ourselves
  4. Giving of our best
  5. Respecting oneself, others, and the environment
  6. Being a safe and well managed school
  7.  The importance of strong and appropriate relationships
  8. The vital partnership of home and school

Our learners are encouraged to value their learning by reflecting on each curriculum area regularly with their Academic Counsellor. Goals are set and plans are made and the AC encourages, guides and gives feedback. Each individual is valued and helped to achieve. Learners and staff are challenged to consider whether they are showing grit and working towards having a growth mindset. These ideas are discussed in Teacher Meetings and we discuss them with our learners.

Being the best you can be and living your best life are ideas that I believe contribute to a successful life and I try to be a positive role model for my learners and my department. Respecting yourself by completing the tasks expected of you and encouraging others to do the same, is part of respecting others and the environment you are a part of. When learners and staff do this, the school is well on the way to becoming a safe and well managed environment and community.

Positive relationships between staff and with learners is a key to success in learning.  As a new Head of Learning I am enjoying building these relationships. The relationships that I build with my learners is important as it helps to motivate reluctant learners. Relationships are integral for a partnership between home and school. Contact is made with home when a learner needs encouragement to complete their learning. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to attend the Learner Led Conferences.

My specialist area of practice is as the HOL in the English department. The broader professional context is to facilitate the learning of our akonga. My role is to help the members of my team to do this to the best of their ability. One of the key theories that underpins this is being a reflective practitioner. One of the reflection tools that our principal encourages us to use is Rolfe’s iterative reflection: What? So what? Now what? This is a simple way of looking at a situation and deciding what needs to be done about it.

Another reflection tool is the RISE model which asks a practitioner to Reflect, Inquire, Suggest and Evaluate. These models are both valuable in evaluating how we are meeting the Practising Teacher Criteria and also everyday situations. I am a regular reflective practitioner and I aim to encourage the members of my department to regularly reflect.


1. Wenger, E. Introduction to communities of practise. Retrieved from


3. Dawson, P. Reflective Practice. Retrieved from

4. Wray, E. The RISE model for self evaluation. Retrieved from


7 thoughts on “My Community of Practice

  1. Thank you for unpacking your community of practice. I love the values of your school: valuing individual effort and what the individual brings are far more important than achieving a standard. We aren’t machine made clones. I wonder whether you have reached that point that you ALL share the vision and how long did it take to get there?

    Thank you for the RISE model – I have copied the link.


  2. Thank you for sharing, I to believe having a successful life is all about being the best you can be and as a positive role model you have more respect for yourself and your learners. This offers more opportunities for effective relationships and strong connections with your students and their whanau, leading to a better understanding of who your students really are and how you can make a difference that improves not only the quality of their life but also their whanau. Positive relationships and communication is key.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Chris and Natasha, I agree with your notion of living your best life and being a positive role model. I have recently reread some of Tu Rangatira and was particularly interested in the ideas of He Kaimahi, the role of the worker who leads by doing, and your blog post resonated a lot with this for me Chris. It also makes me reflect on living your ‘true self’ and this I feel is ethically important to model for the young people that we teach.


  3. Chris, the RISE model is fantastic – thank you for sharing!

    I really appreciate your view of leadership. So often, I think, leaders can be seen as enforcers, but if they focus on supporting those they are leading even the most challenging task becomes that little bit easier.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s