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Becoming a Member of a Community of Practice: Postgraduate Researcher Literacy Development in a UK University

  • Katie Dunworth
  • Faisal Al Saidi
Chapter
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 30)

Abstract

This chapter draws on the concept of communities of practice as described by Wenger (Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998; Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In: C Blackmore (ed) Social learning systems and communities of practice. The Open University, Milton Keynes, pp 179–198, 2010) to examine a doctoral researcher’s written literacy development through interaction with his supervisor. The term community of practice is used here to describe a group of individuals who are mutually engaged in a joint enterprise who share a repertoire of knowledge, activities and discourses. Membership comes into being through participation, interaction, and negotiated meaning: a situated process of identity construction (Ewing Discourse and the construction of identity in a community of learning and a community of practice. In: T Stehlik, P Carden (eds), Beyond communities of practice: theory as experience. Post Pressed, Upper Mount Gravatt, pp 149–170, 2005). Two key elements of a community of practice are participation and reification; these two elements are explored in detail in this chapter through the concept of feedback, where feedback is understood not as a form of output produced by a provider and transmitted to a receiver but as a social, situated process which is not complete until an initial input is engaged with and transformed (Dunworth, K., & Sanchez, H. H. (2016). Perceptions of quality in staff-student written feedback in higher education: A case study. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(5), 576–589). The chapter explores this process of contestation and negotiation which is part of the development of a member-as-writer within a community of practice.

Keywords

Community of practice Postgraduate researcher Higher education Literacy development Writing a thesis Postgraduate supervision 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of BathBathUK

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