Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Could this be an answer to intrinsic motivation?

As an educator, I am always in search of practices that would strength my students' self-motivation.  To strive for excellence in everything that they attempt and know how to do. I want my students to participate for the sake of developing their cognition and abilities.  

In a community of practice (CoP), Etienne Wenger proposes that learning is acquired from a mutuality of engagement, accountability to an enterprise, and negotiability of a repertoire. A vast degree of knowledge and information is obtained through active participation (a mutual engagement) in a community where certain ways of engaging with other people- how to treat each other and work together to complete specific tasks- are learned. Could this concept work in a traditional classroom?

This would involve more than just shared interests and collaboration.  A community of practice requires trust, flexibility, purpose, and strong relationships with all members in the community.  Each child must be able to demonstrate their own competence in the community where there are no experts. There is no beginning and end to learning. We are constantly reinventing ourselves by joining or not joining new communities.  Think about band members leaving and joining new groups all the time or a local knitting group at someone's house where all members of different ages and skill levels convene.

How can I make my classroom more like a CoP?  Would learning centers best meet the traits of a community of practice?  What would these learning centers look like?  How would I ensure that my students are acquiring the grade level standards?  How can I manage these learning centers when new concepts are being introduced? Should I even control how many learning centers the students need to participate in?

I am envisioning learning that is self-directed and in constant motion in my classroom. I am merely there as my students' coach.  Successful learning is when my students continue the activities and practices at home on their own.


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