- What is community? How important is community in the 21st century? Where might the idea of community “fit” in education and schooling, teaching and learning? These are the questions and themes embedded in this book. The general critique is that community is an add-on in our schools and often is dismissed as a result of the individualistic and competitive nature of schooling today. Our focus is to provide critical investigations as to the possibility of community – and that we need community now more than ever! The concept of community education brings many ideas and issues to mind. Related themes include place-based, field-based, environmental, service learning, and outdoor education. Each has its own more narrow focus with community education perhaps an umbrella term than encompasses them all. Nevertheless, the suggestion here is that instead of community education serving as an extension or add-on to traditional approaches, it should be the focus of all education. What is often missing in teaching and learning are contexts and connections than make education meaningful. Community education engages participants in problem and issues-based approaches to the local community, thereby facilitating that local to global link. Instead of compartmentalized subjects, integrated approaches use what students and the community know or understand to develop further questions, solutions, or even problems. Community education offers efficacy in that it provides opportunities for collaboration in addressing local issues and problems. It enables the community to become the classroom, thus ensuring a more long-term connection to active rather than passive endeavors as citizens.
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