Activity Four: Communities of Practice: Kia mau ki te ako ko tou oranga hoki ia.

“Kia mau ki te ako ko tou oranga hoki ia. Hold on to learning, for it is your life.”

(Auckland Catholic Education Office, n.d.)

A community of practice consists of a group of people with a shared commitment to practice within a focus or domain. (Wenger-Trayner, E.,& B. 2015).

In this post, my intention is to focus on the most direct community of practice to which I belong, that of my school community, and how it fits the description of a community.

I teach at Marist School. As its name suggests, it is a Catholic school. It’s quite fitting that I reflect on this community in this post, as our school has just celebrated Marist Week,the week in which we remember our charism, our particular special character or lens through which we see our Catholicity.(  New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, 2014. p.13). In our case, our charism comes from the school’s founders, the Marist Sisters. This charism is central to our community’s domain, its relationships and its practice.

Imagine cogs, turning together in order to do what It is needed to fulfil their purpose-

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.07.41 PM

Who are the stakeholders and in what ways do they influence your practice?
The Families: The families who choose to enrol at Marist School make a real decision to do so. It is quite a process to become part of a Catholic school community. Families need to show a connection to the Catholic faith, they need to sign an agreement to pay fees and, in the case of our school as well as in others,there is a long waiting list for places.

Within this community of families- the students: The school has a roll of approximately 300.It is inner city and culturally diverse. The 2014 ERO report lists the ethnic composition as: Māori 5%, NZ European/ Pākeha 69%, Indian 9%, Samoan 5%, Filipino 4%, Chinese 3%, Tongan 3% and other ethnicities 2%. One of the challenges for our community of practice is how to acknowledge and affirm differences. The Religious Education programme acknowledges the importance of key aspects of the culture and spirituality of Maori and gives meaningful opportunities for integrating these.

 The Catholic Diocese of Auckland : This stakeholder funds all buildings primarily through attendance dues. The Proprietor, the Bishop of Auckland, has overall responsibility for ensuring that,

        “our students develop a Christ-centred faith relationship, when pastoral care reflects the sacredness of each  individual, when individuals are encouraged to know, love and respect themselves as children of God and              when a culture of excellence is fastened in the heart of the Gospel.” (Auckland Catholic Schools’ Office, n.d.).

The Staff: We have 28 members in our team.We are not all Catholic in faith, but we all share a commitment to valuing a faith- driven education. An ongoing challenge is ensuring that the special character of a Catholic school is not lost, whilst affirming the faith of all our community.

Our Community of Practice owes its stakeholders a real responsibility for doing our best to fulfil our point of difference, that is education within a faith environment.”As a Catholic school our Special Character is at the heart of all we do. Gospel values underpin our daily lives.”(Marist School,n.d.)

How do we work to achieve this? We keep this “special character” front and centre in our planning.Our theme this year, for instance, has been Light.This came from Pope Francis’ call,“Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets”( as cited in Kaufman, 2013).

So, for instance, this term our focus has been “Lighting a Fire for Others.” Our value has been Equity and our big question was,” How can we make a difference to other people?” As a school, we worked towards a market day as a fundraiser for a school we are sponsoring in Namibia. Research carried out in 2011 found that although many young people describe themselves as Catholic, there is a disconnection with faith in their daily life (as cited in  The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, 2014, p.8).Our focus on connecting across the curriculum is one way in which we can attempt to address this.

My practice, as part of this Community of Practice, is to help achieve what the Catholic Education Office states is the purpose of its schools – to enable young people to develop the attitudes, knowledge and skills to become active and committed members of the Faith Community and to contribute positively to the world community.

(New Zealand Catholic Education Office, 2002).


Auckland Catholic Education Office. (n.d.)Catholic Schools – Radiating hope for the future. Retrieved from

Education Review Office. (2014). Marist School (Mt Albert) 27/06/2014 Retrieved from

Kaufman, M ( 2013, July 13).Quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical Lumen Fidei. Retrieved from

Marist School Mt Albert (n.d.)Our Catholic special character. Retrieved from

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. The Catholic education of school age children.(2014). Wellington, New Zealand: Author. Retrieved from

New Zealand Catholic Education Office (2002, June). Retrieved from http://(

Wenger-Trayner,E.,& B.(2015). Communities of practice a brief introductionRetrieved from

2 thoughts on “Activity Four: Communities of Practice: Kia mau ki te ako ko tou oranga hoki ia.

  1. This article explained clearly what our community of practice looks like. I think for those not involved in Catholic education it would be a useful read, as a Catholic School is often a ‘mystery’ to those on the outside.


  2. Using a question to work towards Market Day, focuses learners to use knowledge in innovative ways and developing an ‘enterprising culture’. This has also led to making links with faith and daily life.


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