“A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”
“A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
“A relevant education is not limited to a classroom, but seeks to contextualize the issues by the surrounding areas and people as parts of the learning environment.” (Education for Sustainable Development)
What does community mean to you?
When I taught in the elementary grades, I built much of my curriculum around community. They learned where members of their family worked, learning skills from a carpenter, watching surgery at the vets, adopting a nursing home, are only a few places we went.
Think about it! Every business we visited, every person who visited us took us on a journey where those dreaded academic skills became the means for a learner to explore further.
In a “super size”, “big is better”, regionalized world. Perhaps we should rethink where we are heading. Now, more than ever it is important for community to be involved in the learning environment. It is individuals that make a community; and a community which makes the individuals.
When we look back at the Matrix we are reminded that we are each a learner. Community members, many who were thrown away by the educational system should also have access to the educational environment. Nothing creates a vested interest as much as involvement does.
This is a small community out in a very rural area of Uganda. They had no school so together they built the two room school seen in the background. This was the first time that I was greeted at the school by the whole learning community. It was also my first encounter with what empowerment looked like. With this building recently completed they are already planning on how to expand into the church building next door.
This community at the Prince Joseph Foundation were told that a girls’ dorm needed to be constructed. The next morning community members came with axes and shovels and hoes and cleared the land for the building. Together they moved the stumps of the trees for they did not have any big machines to do it for them.
And when a community is empowered, they can share their talents with each other and with the world as these women from Better World Cameroon will tell you.