Communities Of Practice
A community of practice is a group bound together by shared interpretations of practice, which is "the activity that lies at the heart of getting work done."
"Learning a practice … involves becoming a member of a 'community of practice' and thereby understanding its work and its talk from the inside. Learning, from this point of view, is not simply a matter of acquiring information; it requires developing the disposition, demeanor, and outlook of the practitioners."
"When technicians gather, their conversation is full of talk about machines. This talk shows their understanding of the world of service; in another sense, the talk creates that world and even creates the identity of the technicians themselves. But neither talk nor identity is the goal of the technicians’ practice. The goal is getting the job done."
Communities of Practice and the Technical Communicator
The concept of communities of practice impacts the conception of the technical communicator role. Doak, Miller, and Slack (2006) summarize three models of technical communication: transmission, translation, and articulation. These roles are compared below in how they define what communication is, what a message is, how power is structured, and what the technical communicator does.
A technical communicator in a translator or articulator role support learning in a communities of practice. The translator helps to create meaning for a social purpose. The articulator helps to create meaning and identity for social and political purposes.
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Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice. Available at http://www.ewenger.com/theory/