Source: Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Issue Volume 11, Number 1 / February, 2008 Pages 41-60
The aim of this study is to investigate how a community of practice focused on becoming a teacher of secondary school mathematics emerged during a pre-service teacher education programme and was sustained after students graduated and began their first year of full-time teaching in schools.
Bulletin board discussions of one pre-service cohort are analysed in terms of Wenger’s (1998) three defining features of a community of practice: mutual engagement of participants, negotiation of a joint enterprise, and development of a shared repertoire for creating meaning.
Emergence of the online community was associated with our own role in facilitating professional dialogue, the voluntary and unstructured nature of participation, initial face-to-face interaction that created familiarity and trust, and the convenience of using email rather than logging on to a website. The study shows that the emergent design of the community contributed to its sustainability in allowing the pre-service and beginning teachers to define their own professional goals and values.