To be an effective teacher, you must have an engaged class. Whether in a classroom or teaching on the internet, teachers need to employ effective strategies to keep their students active, focused and enthusiastic. While being in the classroom allows teachers to interact and encourage engagement at a more immediate level, online teachers don’t have the luxury of being in the same room as their students.
In facing this challenge, online teachers introduce a community of practice into their virtual classrooms. A community of practice, or CoP, is a group that works together toward the same goal. Usually, the aim is fixing a problem, but it certainly can be more than that. The general idea of this method is that if two heads are better than one, more heads are best.
The beauty of harnessing the concept of a community of practice as it relates to teaching online is that it can be used during class with your students and with other teachers to tackle challenges. Here are some of the specific benefits of implementing CoP not only into your teaching but also in how you address issues in the practice.
Fosters Active Engagement During Class
Say your online lesson is on creative writing where the students write a few paragraphs on what they did over the weekend. The goal is to make a regular weekend seem exciting through metaphor, simile and other literary devices you’ve been covering in class.
Once all of the submissions are in, you redistribute the pieces to the class so each student has another student’s writing. The potential for engagement will amaze you as each student reads their peer’s writing, analyzing their use of the devices and getting a kick out of how they wrote creatively about cleaning their room.
Creates An Inclusive Culture Where Students Have A Stake
A community of practice activates engagement on all plains. Your students work together to solve problems, create projects and activities, and steer the class toward a collective goal. This will spark their curiosity, which will lead to a more focused path to onboarding knowledge and interacting with it.
In a community of practice-based online classes, students will feel more comfortable sharing their work as the low-risk, team-work oriented environment encourages fixing issues together.
Closes The Engagement Gap
Forming a CoP among other online teachers or joining one already established has the potential to enhance the experience and alleviate the issues of online teaching. Sharing tips, hacks, and knowledge about ways through or around e-learning problems is a community of practice at its core. Forming relationships with educators and other professionals means there is somewhere to turn when you run into a wall. Many CoPs have open forums where you can submit a concern or issue you’ve had to be thought through by your fellow community members. These communities are also great places to learn new techniques and best practices from colleagues and peers.
Have Your Classes Run Smoothly
With a community of practice working for your students, you’ll find classes go smoother with more engagement, even if you’re half a world away from your students. CoPs also work for you. No matter what hurdle you’re having trouble clearing, joining a CoP with other online teachers will show you that you’re never alone.