Caring for our communities of practice in educational development

Given the backdrop of multiple concurring crises—a global pandemic, political instability and violence, and multiple structural inequalities—we see the problem of now as this: How do educational developers continue to address the wicked problems in teaching and learning when we are simply so exhausted? Our article presents the importance of communities of practice for educational developers, inviting us to witness and name the communities in which we belong; the important functions they engage; who they nurture and how; and what care is undertaken to sustain these groups and ourselves. To help educational developers understand and appreciate the ways that communities of practice support our work (emotionally, professionally, and socially), we share a framework from the literature of organizational management and apply it to communities in educational development. We include narratives to demonstrate this framework in action to amplify the particularly important role these groups have played in our professional and personal lives. We end with actions we can take to care for our communities of practice that build upon the presented theoretical foundation. As these groups are fragile, maintaining our communities is important so that they will provide us support and shelter into the post-pandemic future.

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