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ERIC Number: EJ915325
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1360-3116
Developing Learning Communities: Using Communities of Practice within Community Psychology
Lawthom, Rebecca
International Journal of Inclusive Education, v15 n1 p153-164 Feb 2011
The idea that communities need to be inclusive is almost axiomatic. The process, whereby, community members engage in inclusive practices is far less understood. Similarly, UK universities are being encouraged to include the wider community and extent campus boundaries. Here, I suggest a particular theoretical lens which sheds light on engagement and relationships between community members and university members. Communities of practice is a theory which offers much to understanding community psychology (CP) and ways in which universities can work with and within communities. Indeed, the ideas behind communities of practice can be extended to CP practice, to explore how communities learn and empower themselves. Communities of practice are aggregates of people who share doing, talking, beliefs and values (i.e. practices). Participants in these so-called communities of practice learn through doing, becoming and belonging. Through a process of legitimate peripheral participation, apprentices are exposed to a learning curriculum, where practices and knowledge are integral to action and the development of practice. These notions of community of practice can be seen in community settings where CP is enacted. To illustrate this, I draw upon a case study in which CP undergraduate students learn how to do CP by undertaking a social change project within a community. Here, CP students, CP tutors and community members all participated, simultaneously learning and transforming their communities of practice. Communities of practice around geographical communities and university communities of practice are examined through the relationships between community psychologists (tutors and students) and community members. The ideas of legitimate membership (i.e. who can belong) and access to knowledge (and therefore power) can be explored using communities of practice ideas. If social change and sustainability are ultimate goals for CP, we need mechanisms which explore how participation, knowledge, identity and power are enacted in community settings. Communities of practice may be one step towards inclusive communities. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom