[This material was designed for use in a graduate course as a way of engaging learners in a process of learning about aspects of some community. It could be adapted by anyone desiring to learn more about a community.]
We recommend such study efforts primarily to those interested in community education programs or to those advanced learners who wish to become more skilled in understanding the potential of the community for education. There are several dimensions of a community that can be studied, such as various social, educational, or economic indicators, historical information, characteristics of the citizenry, and the community's power structure (Hiemstra, 1993). We note to learners that the collection of information through a community study is only the beginning of the learning process. Gathered information will need to be processed, analyzed, and interpreted.
We encourage people engaging in this learning experience to develop a report that will include information centered around a variety of categories, including such topics as the history of the community, community leadership, the make-up of formal and informal groups, and the likely future of the community also can be included. Written or oral feedback from the instructor and/or community members typically provide some validation for the learner of the experience.
Hiemstra, R. (1993). The educative community: Linking the community, education, and family. [On-line]. Available: http://www-distance.syr.edu/commindx.html.
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