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How Communities Work Together

What can we learn about enhancing our own class community from our study of the ways that the four profiled communities choose leaders, make decisions, maintain peace, cooperate and respect diversity?

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

In this challenge, students consider the lessons they might learn about improving their own class community by studying organizational practices (how they choose leaders, make decisions, maintain peace, cooperate and respect diversity) in the four profiled communities in Tunisia, Peru, India and Ukraine. To introduce this activity, direct students to consider practices within their own community. Organize students in small groups and give each group a chart similar to the following:

How our groups organize themselves


How are leaders chosen?

How are decisions made?

How do people work together peacefully and share with one another?

How do people celebrate diversity?

In the classroom and school


In the community


In the family


In the government


Invite students to reflect on how these four practices (choosing leaders, making decisions, working together peacefully and celebrating diversity) are carried out in their classroom, school and, if known, in their family and community. Encourage students to recognize that these practices will differ within families and communities. After they have collected the information, clarify students' understanding of the concepts and summarize their findings on a large class chart. Supplement students' ideas about the organizational practices at the governmental level with information that you share with them.

Ask students whether they think the practices in Canada are the same as those followed elsewhere in the world. Invite students to work in groups to find out what they can about school, community, family and government practices in an assigned community in India, Tunisia, Peru or Ukraine. Assemble texts, videos and bookmarked websites with relevant information on the four communities. Ask the groups to report on their particular community's practices using a word processing program to display their findings. It is not necessary that students provide information at all organizational levels and practices for their assigned community. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.

Once the groups have assembled the information, ask students to look for similarities and differences across the communities. Compare practices in the four profiled communities with the previously-generated chart of Canadian practices. Ask students to identify practices (e.g., particular methods of choosing leaders or sharing with one another) from the four communities that might contribute to the class working together as a community. From those ideas, decide on one or more practices to implement in the class, perhaps when identifying a leader for a project or trying to cooperate with fellow students. In selecting possible options, encourage students to consider three criteria:

  • would it help the class work as a community
  • would it be easy to do
  • is it fair to everyone.

Individually or as a class, decide on the most appropriate practice(s) to implement. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Committing to Action (Support Material) to structure and assess students' decisions.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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