A Reflection: A Community of Learning
I am deeply motivated by the idea of community as a learning tool and interface. The idea is so natural and instinctual and yet how our patterns, systems and habits of learning have transformed into a rather selfish enterprise: guarding the resources, protecting the process, calling the finished product “Mine” or “Yours” without an intent to recognize the role of the community that assisted in the development of the thinker.
“Our communities of practice then become resources for organizing our learning as well as context in which to manifest our learning through an identity of participation. What is crucial about this kind of engagement as an educational experience is that identity and learning serve each other.” (Wenger, Chapter 12, p.272)
My engagement in a reflective teaching practice has morphed into a life of engaged and reflective facilitation and learning. My citizenship in an online community devoted to learning as a lifestyle has become not only the tool to help me facilitate that which I wish to master, but it has begun to develop my identity as a student of everything. My identity as a lifelong learner supports my identity as a teacher devoted to a life of inter-connectedness, learning and growth.
I have been amused and chagrined at how much this idea makes intuitive sense and yet runs counter to the way I was educated: we were taught that in academia, resources should be protected and not shared – at least not easily – and open forums were seen as scary places where bad intellectual ideas might happen. Scary learning indeed!
What happens if we exam the exponential growth of information and expansion of knowledge from a different perspective? What would happen if we, as a global community, decided to collectively become smarter, and collaborate as a rhizome, rather than operate and grow as a single tree? Check it out: The Open Scholarship Initiative .