Essay by weinsteininUniversity, Master'sA, May 2008

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Wenger (1998) says we are all part of communities of practice. Communities of practice are everywhere, at home, at work, and in our hobbies. They are constantly changing and evolving. As old communities leave our lives, new ones spring up to take their place. Families develop their own communities through their rituals, habits, and routines. They hate each other, they love each other, they agree, and they disagree, but they do whatever it takes to keep going.

Workers organize their lives in accordance with their immediate colleagues and customers to get their jobs done. They develop or preserve a sense of themselves that will allow having fun and fulfilling requirements of their clients and employers. They create a practice to do what needs to be done, regardless of their title or position. Although they are employed by a large organization, their day to day lives are parts of much smaller communities and sets of people.

Students go to school and, as they come together to deal with the institution, agendas, and new relationships, communities sprout everywhere around them, in classrooms, or clubs, officially or informally. They meet to share knowledge, experiences, and tips on how to get by. In spite of the curriculum, the learning that becomes the most transforming turns out to be the learning that involves the membership in these much smaller communities.

Bands rehearse for the same songs for another wedding. Internet enthusiasts become part of a worldwide cluster of communicators. Churches and schools hold weekly meetings for addicts who have the courage to remain sober. In neighborhoods groups of youth come together to configure their life on the street and a sense of themselvesCommunities of practice are all around us and are an important part of our daily lives. They can be so informal that they...