Recruit community members
Identify practitioners working with common questions or interests, and invite them to participate in a community of practice. Invite broadly – look for practitioners beyond ‘the regulars’, including those with alternate perspectives, those working in isolation, and those who may already have found some solutions to the target issues.
Ensure potential participants have an incentive to participate; people need to feel that the time and effort they will put into the experience will give them something back. Some ways to ensure value for time includes:
- choosing issues that are timely for all participants and based on their daily work
- describing how their input will make a difference
- detailing opportunities to connect with others across school jurisdictions and roles
- offering resources
- generating excitement about collaborating to find new solutions.
When issuing the invitation, describe the structure of a community of practice and the work of this particular community sufficiently so that potential participants will understand what they will be committing to.
Consider including a section that participants sign to confirm their commitment to the proposed goals and activities of the community. If the community is for classroom teachers, consider including a signature line for the school administrator to indicate their support for the teacher to participate in this professional learning opportunity.
Next… Identify a facilitator