Community and Service
This is where you will find information about the AOI Community and Service
The trap to avoid falling into
Many personal projects involve presentations to a ‘community’, usually an assembly or a particular grade level. This is fine, but it often leads students to think that just because they have presented to a ‘community’, then they don’t need to reflect on the whole experience a great deal. Superficial comments such as ‘I found it very rewarding to help the primary school children in our community’ are fine to start with, but they are not going to score you maximum points for depth of reflection. This area of interaction, just like the others, goes deeper.
How to develop reflection in this area
To start with, it’s always worth considering what a ‘community’ actually is. You will undoubtedly have targeted a certain group of people for your project. Why? Why do those people make up a ‘community’? Why did you exclude others? Are communities stable entities? Do people belong to more than one community? This may be the way to start your reflection on this area of interaction.
If your project was truly related to this area of interaction, then you will have done one of the following things:
- Made an attempt to understand the needs of your target community.
- Made an attempt to understand your own role in that particular community.
- Taken some positive action in a particular community.
- Researched about different communities, and perhaps compared aspects of different communities.
If you made an attempt to understand the needs of your target community…
Why did you do this? Why is the welfare of this community particularly important to you? How did you go about doing this? Do surveys and questionnaires always give you an accurate understanding of the community’s needs? Why is understanding a community’s needs correctly so important for us? Are there other ways to do this? What happens when you get it wrong? Is it possible to actually objectively understand what a community really needs? Don’t your personal values always prevent you from objectively understanding the situation?
If you made an attempt to understand your particular role in the community…
Why is this important to you? Do you have to have a role? Do you feel any pressure to do this? How did you become a part of that particular community? Why didn’t other people do what you are trying to do? Do you feel responsible at all for your community’s welfare/progress? Would you like to have a more important role in this particular community?
If you took some positive action…
Why hadn’t such things been done before by other people? Was it really necessary? Was it just a personal desire or did the community really benefit? What are the main difficulties in taking positive action in a community? Did you find that your attempts were limited in any way and by anything? Did you get the response from the community that you expected? Was it worthwhile? Do you think your action will lead to others taking positive action in that community? Why? Why not?
If you researched other communities in any way…
Why was this necessary? How do we benefit from understanding other people’s ways of life? Why did you choose those particular communities? Is it possible to objectively make a comparison between two lifestyles…particularly when one of them is the one that you have grown up with? Why do the differences that your observed develop? What are the main factors that determine the lifestyles of people in a particular community?
Once again, this list is not exhaustive. It’s just a set of questions designed to point you in the right direction.