1. Exploring the local community
Discussing and writing stories helps pupils to say what they think about different situations. Stories can be very helpful when you want pupils to think about difficult subjects. But it does take time to prepare them well; you need to think about the communities your pupils are part of and prepare your story carefully.
In Case Study 1, we learn about Mrs Otto who teaches Primary 6 in a large primary school in Kampala. She wanted her pupils to think about community relationships in their own town situation and then find out more about a rural community. If you work in a rural setting, you may want your pupils to explore an urban or town situation.
Activity 1 uses discovery learning to help your pupils ‘discover’ more about their own communities.
Case Study 1: Using your experience to discuss community life
As Mrs Otto came from a village more than 200 km from Kampala, she knows quite a lot about village life. From her own experience, she was able to prepare stories about her life there to use with her pupils. Using her own experience was important for Mrs Otto in teaching as it meant she was more confident about her subject knowledge.
Mrs Otto asked two pupils from her Primary 6 class to read out a story she had prepared about a village community in Uganda and then another two pupils to read one about a small urban community she knew. She had chosen these stories because they had many similarities.
After each story, she asked her pupils to discuss in their desk groups:
- the different activities the people carry out to make a living;
- the people who help others in the community;
- the problems of each community – which were the same? Which were different?
- the leaders of the community.
Mrs Otto asked the groups to feed back their ideas and she wrote the key points on the board. As a class, they discussed the successes and the problems of the different communities and how the problems might be solved.
For homework, she asked them to think about their own community. Next lesson, after having done some research (see Key Resource: Researching in the classroom) each group of four wrote their own description of their community. Some pupils read these out to the whole class.
Activity 1: Discovery learning in the local community
- Ask your class to brainstorm some of the main groups in the local community. These might include NGOs, religious groups, friends, family, community leaders etc.
- Organise your class into suitable sized groups. (This may be according to age or ability or another grouping.)
- Explain that they are going to find out about one of these groups.
- Allow each group to select a community group. More than one group can investigate the same organisation, as they will have different interests and views.
- You may need to do some research yourself or your pupils could do it to find out more about each organisation. You or they could perhaps collect some documents to help with their investigations. Each group could also devise a questionnaire and interview people from the organisation. See Resource 2: Sample questions pupils might ask to find out more about local community groups.
- Give them time to do the discovering, or research.
- Next lesson, ask each group to prepare a presentation on their organisation – the presentation could be written, a poster, a picture or any other display method.
- For younger pupils, you could investigate one group only and invite someone from the organisation to talk to the class and together make a poster. You could repeat this at intervals so that your pupils find out about different organisations.