Building a communities of practice for the continuing professional development of History teachers: insights from the TEMS project.

17 February 2012

In a period of rapid curriculum change, many South African teachers are faced with the arduous task of new curriculum development and implementation. This is particularly true of the challenges facing history teachers as they embrace new curricular expectations. While some teachers view this as a daunting endeavour, others disturb this assumption, embrace the challenge and seek out opportunities for personal professional development. This paper draws on the findings of TEMS teacher development project. It argues for a community of practice approach to continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers of history. The peculiar demands of teaching this discipline in post-apartheid South Africa necessitates the creation of 'safe spaces' for teachers of history to engage with the new discourse in history education. Communities of practice as espoused by Wenger offers a useful theoretical approach for CPD in history especially in the absence of substantive support from the Department of Education for teachers of history.