In this essay I will attempt to evaluate Wenger and Lave’s notion of Communities of Practice in relation to my practice as a Community Development worker.
As a Community Development worker, identifying groups of people in the community with similar or like interests, or purpose is key to my practice and capacity building. As a practitioner I am active in both supporting and empowering these groups but also as an individual in my work environment I am also a member of various groups. I will evaluate Wenger and Lave’s notion of Communities of Practice and use these examples of both my role as a practitioner working with groups and as an individual practitioner to demonstrate how Communities of practice may relate to these two scenarios.
A central principal of Wenger and Laves Communities of Practice is the learning theory of these groups specifically, which is primarily social rather than psychological. This notion of situation learning or social learning theory, known as legitimate peripheral articipation in Communities of practice, could be a means of providing community groups with an educative experience of learning through being a member of a group and therefore is a theoretical framework for capacity building.
Traditionally capacity building is something that Community Development workers have to work hard at, identifying active community members and formalising their cause, interest or activity, this is only the beginning. It is after this process that both formal and informal training may be encouraged and it is at this point that I often struggle to keep the community members engaged, as their initial reason for involvement often takes them to a level they are not comfortable with. Twelvetrees (2002) describes it as including all aspects of training, organisational and personal development and resource building…….and capacity building includes a wide range of forms of learning as well as organisational change.
So my approach to capacity...