TTA – a ‘Community of Practice’ - Jul '17

What are Communities of Practice, their importance and how can you help The Tutors' Association community grow?

A community is a group of people who share a common concern or interest in a topic and who come together to fulfil both individual and group goals.

Certain type of communities focus on sharing best practices and creating new knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice- for example, The Tutors’ Association. These communities are known as ‘Communities of Practice’.

Interaction and collaboration on an ongoing basis is an important part of any community if it is to grow - and historically communities have largely relied on face-to-face interaction to achieve this. However, we now live in a time where we are embracing virtual collaborative environments to communicate, connect and conduct community activities.

‘Communities of practice’ are important because they can:
• Connect people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact, either as frequently or at all
• Provide a shared context for people to communicate and share information, stories, and personal experiences in a way that builds understanding and insight
• Enable dialogue between people to explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities
• Stimulate learning by serving as a vehicle for communication, mentoring, coaching, and self-reflection
• Capture and diffuse existing knowledge to help people improve their practice by providing a forum to identify solutions to common problems and a process to collect and evaluate best practices
• Introduce collaborative processes to groups and organizations as well as between organisations to encourage the free flow of ideas and exchange of information
• Generate new knowledge to help people transform their practice to accommodate changes in needs and technologies

Purpose Is Paramount to any community
Successful and sustainable communities all have focused, well-defined purposes that are directly tied to the organisation’s mission. Purpose helps build relationships, helps members of the community learn and develop practice, and creates knowledge.

One of TTA’s main purposes is to create a community for members of the tutoring profession, where they can:
• Exchange knowledge and experience
• Get access to information and services that assist with their day-to-day work
• Provide mutual support and encouragement

Growing our Community
For TTA to become a vibrant ‘Community of Practice’, we need to increase the interaction that members have with each other – whether through face to face or virtual channels. The more we can interact, contribute, collaborate and initiate action, the stronger and more useful the community becomes.

The channels available to do this include seminars, workshops, The Annual Conference (http://thetutorsassociation.org.uk/NationalConference2017), articles and blogs on the website; Twitter (@TheTutorsAssoc) and the Facebook page (facebook.com/tutorsassociation).

With that in mind we would like to invite you to think about the following:
How could you interact more regularly with TTA and its members? Could you make more use of any of the channels available to TTA’s community to share your insights and showcase your successes?

How often do you like and share TTA’s posts on Twitter (@TheTutorsAssoc) and Facebook (facebook.com/tutorsassociation)? Have you submitted a review on the Facebook page?
Could you contribute to blogs and articles – or create speaking opportunities? Could you deliver a webinar on a CPD subject?

Might you be willing to take on a leadership role? Is there anything you could do to help TTA’s membership grow?
All these are great ways not only to grow the reach and value of TTA’s ‘Community of Practice’, but to establish TTA as the voice of the profession.

If you would be interested to contribute in any of the ways mentioned above: write a blog or an article; share a success story or a case study, share a story that could be news worthy; or have an idea for a subject for CPD events, please get in touch! Email press@thetutorsassociation.org.uk and we will take it from there.


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