Communities of Practice: Connections and Collaborations in the EAL Context

Presented at the 31st NTC hosted by IGA in Guatemala City, Guatemala
November 6th, 2012


I was very excited to be speaking about community and communities of practice as tools for professional development and teacher empowerment in Guatemala. In some ways, I attribute Guatemala to my life journey of wonder and exploration. I came to Guatemala in 1996 to study Spanish in the quaint town of Antigua. I lived with a remarkable family for a month. I spent most of my time between classes at the plaza in the center of town, chatting with the little girls who were selling purses and other handicrafts. The children always made me feel comfortable. They gave me confidence with my emerging Spanish skills.  Years later, anytime anyone asks where I learned Spanish, I tell them – it all started in Antigua, Guatemala and continued from there. Since then – I’ve traveled to study, surf and climb mountains in several Spanish speaking countries.


When I looked into the audience at the conference I saw a community. A community that I belong to and from which I find strength in shared knowledge and experiences. For me, belonging to a community is a way of life – the only way I want to know. I truly believe that everything is better or becomes better when shared – food, wine, books, music, and travel. Even grief, when shared, becomes more bearable within a community.

So, what is community? Continue reading