Community-Based Learning focuses on strategies teachers use to connect young students with the community addressing a problem or working toward finding a solution to a community problem.
It is a teaching and learning strategy that involves community engagement with instruction and reflection, enriching the learning experience for the students with a greater emphasis on reciprocal learning and thinking. It is also known as Place-Based Learning.
"Community-Based Learning (CBL) is a pedagogical approach based on the premise that the most profound learning often comes from experience that is supported by guidance, context-providing, foundational knowledge, and intellectual analysis. The opportunity for students to bring thoughtful knowledge and ideas based on personal observation, social interaction and scholarly arguments brings depth to the learning experience for students and the course content. The communities that we are a part of can benefit from the resources of our faculty and students. At the same time, the courses can be educationally transformative in powerful ways."
Types of Community Based Learning
Civic Action or Advocacy
Under this strategy, students only address community problems or social issues and their causes. This is an informational community based learning where students' focus is on the problem of the community.
Under direct service, students actively work with and within the community to solve problems. Students actively participate in solving the community problem under direct service.
Students participate passively in indirect service. In this method, students will provide goods and products for the cause and needy in the community.
Benefits Of Community Based Learning
Community-based learning can benefit students, schools and communities in multiple ways. Here are a few benefits of the pedagogy.
- Students engage in authentic learning experiences that increase their understanding of the community, local needs and all associated issues.
- Community-based learning helps students develop personal skills and increases their awareness, preparing them for their future.
- Community-based learning is very engaging for the students as it happens out of the classroom. Students get in direct contact with the community and work for a social cause as they provide help to the community. The whole process helps students level up and prepare them to learn, understand information and quickly grasp the new knowledge.
- Community-Based Education helps students develop crucial skills like creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Students develop all these skills as they are directly engaged in solving real-world problems. Thus, they must think critically and out of the box to achieve what they aim. This process enhances their skill bank and enriches them with other vital skills.
- Community-Based Education makes students socially responsible. Under this pedagogy, students can dig deeper in understanding the social issue and its causes. Helping the community and learning through their experiences makes students better citizens. They take the responsibility to help the community and solve its problems.
- Students experience hands-on learning in Community Based Learning. They receive practical knowledge and real-life experiences as they learn through problem-solving.
- Solving others' problems and helping them helps students develop empathy. As students work with the locals, understand their problems, and help them, they become more empathetic to others' issues.
- Students challenge themselves with new problems and work towards solving them. The pedagogy makes students more confident about themselves and develops the attributes of a risk-taker. Students' ongoing challenges in the process prepare them to tackle new challenges with confidence.
- Community-based learning requires students to work together towards a common goal. During the process, students can develop leadership skills, communications skills, and team working skills.
- The concept of community-based learning adds a different perspective. It changes the way students look at social issues as they deeply involve themselves in solving some. It changes students' attitudes toward social problems as instead of ignoring the problems, they work towards the solutions for problems.
- Community Partnerships paves the way for schools to collaborate with communities and families in education.
- It provides enriched learning opportunities for teachers and fosters new ways of thinking about their teaching practices. The process of instructing students and engaging them in community work, ensuring they learn from the process, makes educators aware of their resources, opportunities and performance.
Also, watch this TED Talk on The Power of Community-Based Education by Sudhi Kaushik.