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UTILIZATION OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES IN

SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHING


Community resources help in extending the classroom into the community in order to give all
the children increased experience with real things related with the curriculum plan. Wittich
and Schuller
MEANING OF THE TERM COMMUNITY RESOURCES
In simple terms, community resources stands for various man-material resources (other than
those available at home, family and school) available in the community or society in which the
students live, grow and function. These resources may possess tremendous potential for being
organized in their formal and informal education. Teachers may usefully apply such resources for
instructional purposes, i.e. providing theoretical as well as practical knowledge of their
respective subject, say social studies to their students. In addition, the help of these resources
may also be undertaken for bringing an all-round growth and development of the personality of
the children. Utilization of the available community resources in such constructive, creative and
fruitful way resulting in the overall welfare of the students is known as utilization of community
resources. Since this mechanism outrightly stands for the welfare of the students, it can be
properly included in the category of co-curricular activities meant for the welfare of the students.
TYPES OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Resources of the community that can be utilized for the education and welfare of the
students are innumerable and endless. Everything existing and functioning in the physical and
socio-cultural environment of ones community may prove to be a great source of inspiration,
information, knowledge and experience to us like an open book (to be read), a well equipped
laboratory (for the observation and experimentation) and a living classroom (for providing lively
experiences through interaction). Such valuable and vast treasure of the community resources
may be categorized in the following way for its proper acquaintance and understanding
1. Sources of geographical interest: Rivers, canals, mountains, glaciers, springs, hilly and
mountain areas, deserts, coastal areas, oceans and things available in the heart of these oceans,
minerals, elds, crops growing vegetation and fruits producing process and places, wells, ponds,
sheries, villages, towns, cities and their roots, winds, change of temperature, etc.
2. Sources of religious interest: Temple, mosque, church, gurudwara, religious books and
literature, religious places, monuments of religious persons, saints and their graveyards, religious
fairs and gatherings, religious festivals, religious sermons and lectures, religious lms, etc.

3. Sources of historical interest: Historical buildings, pictures, museums, places of historical


importance, historical remains, historical excavations, minar or towers, forts, haveli or palatial
buildings, old records, ancient books and literature, monuments, historical movies, narration of
the historical events by the older members of the community, etc.
4. Sources of economic interest: Banks, insurance ofces, stock market, dairy farms, agriculture
farms, brick kilns, factories, business establishments, trade centres, cooperative store, shopping
malls, industrial units, haats and retail shops, grain and fruits markets, mandies, etc.
5. Sources of socio-cultural interest: Parks, marriage homes, guest houses, dharmshalas, hotels,
community centres, panchayat and zila parishad, municipal and corporation work places, social
and cultural festivals, folk songs, folk dances, folk theatre, socio-cultural traditions, social mores
and practices, laws, rules and regulations, misbelieves and superstitions, social institutions like
neighbourhood, mohallas, clubs, assemblies and associations, social service institutions and
social workers, social leaders and reformers, books and literature and lms of socio-cultural
interest.
6. Sources of scientic and technological interest: Places of scientic interests, science
laboratories, science education and experimentation institutes and centres, science and
technological institutes, science exhibitions and fairs, books and literature of scientic interests,
gatherings and meetings and deliberations of scientists and technologists, lectures of
knowledgeable persons of science and technology, biographies, auto-biographies and
remembrance of scientists and technologists, the propaganda and knowledgeable literature
demonstrating multi-dimensional use of science and technology, the industrial and agricultural
and other commercial products demonstrating the use and functionability of science and
technology, zoo, botanical gardens, astronomical and astrological places, aeronauts and space
ights etc.
7. Resources connected with government machinery: Assembly houses, parliament house,
constitution, judiciary working, post ofce and telegraph ofce, income tax and sales tax
departments and their working, railway stations, telephone exchange, water distribution centres,
hospitals, police establishments and their working, social welfare departments, public relation
department, courts and their functioning and many other government and semi-government
offices and their functioning.
IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES IN SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHING
The proper utilization of community resources by the school and its personnel may prove to be a
big helping hand in the education and welfare of the students. The advantages drawn on this
account in the teaching-learning of social studies may be summarized as follows:
1. Unique source of knowledge: Community resources are effective and unique source of
information and knowledge to the students. Historical sources are a rich treasure of the

knowledge of past events. Geographical sources provide valuable information and knowledge of
the geographical facts and events. Similar is the case with scientic, socio-cultural, economic,
religious, political, and telecommunication sources. All have a vast stock of information and
knowledge that can be capitalized by the social studies teacher for the instructional purpose and
all round development of the students.
2. Spontaneous way of effective teaching and learning: Community life and its events are quite
effective workshops and laboratories for the teaching and learning of various topics and issues of
social studies in a natural way. Communicating on this aspect, John U. Michaelis (1976) writes,
The community is a childs laboratory for rst hand learning about ways of living. In
community a child develops concepts of geography, history, transportation, communication,
government and other aspects of living. In fact, nobody can deny the effectiveness of the direct
experiences in the process of teaching and learning. Such experiences are spontaneously
available to the children on account of their interaction with the community and its processes.
Hence, utilization of community resources may provide a natural way for the acquisition of the
learning experiences.
3. Supplementing the work of classroom instruction: Community resources, besides providing a
natural source of knowledge and its acquisition, may also be quite helpful in supplementing the
work of classroom instruction for the subject social studies. There may remain gaps in the
classroom teaching-learning. Some concepts and processes may not be fully understood and
grasped through the verbal exposition or even with the use of teaching aids. In such a case the
real exposition of the students with the objects, events and processes of real life of the
community may provide a great opportunity for supplementing the work of classroom
instruction. Besides, such exposure to the community sources may also provide valuable
opportunity to the students for practising and making use of the knowledge and skills acquired
through the classroom instruction, and it may help them in the proper xation of their learning
experiences.
4. Helpful in the all round development of the personality: With the vast treasure of
information, knowledge, skills, interests and appreciations at their disposal, community resources
may help children to have all round growth and development of their personality. Religious
sources help in their moral and spiritual development, while socio-cultural sources help in their
socialization and social development. Similarly the natural physical environment, the sources
related to health, medicine, sports and games drift them towards their physical welfare and
development. Scientic and other valuable knowledgeable sources of the community help them
in seeking proper intellectual development, gaining wisdom and learning the lessons of creativity
and inventiveness. Artistic and aesthetically pleasing sources help them in their aesthetic
development. In this way, students may be helped in seeking all round development of
personality through their exposure to community resources.

5. Capable of entertaining and utilization of leisure time: Utilization of community resources


helps the social studies teacher in providing desirable entertainment and utilization of leisure
time of the students. Students get opportunity for visiting those places and coming into contact
and enjoying those experiences which may prove helpful in serving the purpose. Various types of
social, religious and cultural festivals, fairs and get together, folk dances, folk music, folk
theatre, clubs, assemblies, visit of places of socio-cultural, scientic and geographical interests
may make them fresh, entertained and joyful besides nourishing their interests and socio
psychological needs.
6. Education for effective living: The main purpose of any type of education lies in its power to
equip children with sufficient knowledge for living their life effectively at present and also
preparing them to lead their future life in a satisfactory way. The community resources may help
the students to learn the real lessons for their effective living both in the present and the future.
They can grow up as responsible citizen and useful contributors to the cause of the society and
nation besides feeling adjusted to their self and the environment for such effective living by a
proper interaction with the man-material resources of the community..

Bringing Community to the School


The following measures may be adopted in this approach for providing valuable opportunities to
the students and teachers of the social studies not only for coming closure to the resources of the
community, but also in their proper utilization:
Formation of teacher parent association: Teacher-parent association may be quite helpful for a
school for the attainment of the school objectives. Parents may be helpful for the schools task
related to the utilization of community resources for the instructional as well as welfare
functions, associated with the realization of the aims and objectives of social studies teaching in
schools.
Formation of alumni association: The old students belonging to the stream of social sciences
who have settled in various professions, vocations and walks of life may provide a helping hand
to the school and the new generation of students for taking them to a close touch of the valuable
resources and experiences related to their eld of expertise. They can be a reliable friend, and
guide not only for carrying out their instructional activities in the subject, but also for building
the necessary condence in students for harvesting benets through their labour and output of
such studies. The formation of the alumni association, thus, may prove quite benecial for the
realization of the objectives of social studies teaching on account of the cooperation rendered by
the alumni who are driven by strong emotional attachment, inclination and emotional appeal
towards the welfare and progress of the school and the school community. They put all their
potentials and resources lying in the hands for this purpose.
Inviting eminent persons of the community: For utilizing the treasure of the valuable human
resources of the community, efforts may be made for coming closer to the valuable human

resource personnel and eminent personalities in the disciplines of social sciences by requesting
them to visit the school on various occasions. They can be invited for the guest lectures, panel
discussions, participation in seminars and workshops, assemblies and associations, etc. They can
be given opportunity to share the honour by inaugurating some projects or activities of the school
and provide the benet of their valuable interactions, discourses, suggestions and guidance to the
students and the staff. They may further be requested to help the students in getting benetted by
their valuable expertise, experience and contribution in their respective elds, for example
literature and arts, social service and politics, administration and management, industry and
business, medicine and engineering, science and technology, agriculture and dairy farming,
religion and spiritual enlightenment, etc. With such rst hand direct contact and interaction,
student may get valuable information, knowledge and skills related to the areas and aspects of
social studies. Besides such personalities can help in the task of bringing desired changes in the
affective domain of the behaviour of the students. In this way, the task of inviting eminent
persons from the community by the social studies teachers, well under the banner of a social
studies club, may indeed provide a valuable opportunity for the students and the staff for taking
benet of the best human resources available in their society for the proper attainment of the
aims and objectives of social studies teaching.
Celebrating fairs, festivals and national days: Various types of socio-cultural activities in the
form of the celebration of fairs, festivals and national days may be organized in the school for
providing opportunities for the utilization of community resources. Such celebrations may be of
the following types:

Organization of the festivals, occasions, gatherings, conferences and meets related to


different religions, rituals and cultural traditions of the community.
Birthdays of great men from history, national heroes, martyrs, social reformers and
leaders, inventors and social scientists.
Celebration of the national days like 15th August, 26th January, Childrens day, Martyrs
day, etc.
Celebration of international days like UNO day, World Solidarity day or International
Peace day, Womens day, Senior citizen day, Labour day, etc.
Organization of social studies fairs and exhibitions, cultural festivals, various types of
quiz, word search or other types of competitions, and prize distribution functions related
to the subject social studies. The value of the organization of the above lies in the very
fact that each of then! may turn into a great occasion for inviting members of the
community to the school and, in turn, provide a rich means for the interaction of the
students with the resources of the community. Students gather valuable knowledge and
pick up desirable interests and attitudes related to the socio-cultural heritage of their
community, and this in turn helps them much in the realization of the aims and objectives
of social studies teaching.

Organizing various social service programmes in the school:

The social studies staff, through the cooperation of their students, may take proper
initiative for the organization of the various types of activities and services for the
welfare of the community and the society in which they live and function. Such activities
may be of the following types:
Running an adult education centre in the school campus and inside the community
settings.
Providing free medical facilities by running a dispensary or a mini hospital/health centre
in the school for the community.

Providing library and reading room facility to the community by running a mini library
and reading room in the school campus.

Running continuing education programmes for the community in the school.

Running a counselling and guidance centre for providing parental education and
educational, vocational and personal guidance to the community people and the youth.

Implementing a number of community projects and programmes for the welfare and
development of the community independently as well as in collaboration with the
government and non-government/voluntary agencies.
The organization, of the above mentioned social service activities and programmes
becomes a constant source of interaction between the community and the school. It may
thus result in helping the social studies teachers in one of his essential tasks of providing
opportunities to the students for acquiring rst hand experience in learning the very
lessons of sociability, cooperation, group feelings and service to the community, and also
win the condence and favour of the community to open its doors for the utilization of
various resources at its disposal. In fact, the people who visit the school for taking benet
of the social service organized in the school may prove quite benecial to the school by
sharing their treasure of knowledge, skill and experiences for the instructional purposes
and multi-dimensional welfare of the students in all the subjects of the school curriculum
including social studies.

Taking School to the Community


Under this approach, the activities like the following may be undertaken for providing valuable
opportunities to the school for the proper utilization of community resources towards the
realization of the aims and objectives of social studies teaching

Organization of tours and excursions: Tours and excursions to various places of social,
political, religious, historical, geographical, scientic, technological, cultural and national
interest may provide valuable opportunities to the students for coming closer to the realities, rst
hand information and direct experiences related with the places visited and the events and
processes going on there. During their visit, they may come across a variety of material and
human resources for enriching their curricular and co-curricular experiences, gain insight into the
use and application of the principles and facts of social studies dealt theoretically in their social
studies class, and also acquire necessary curiosity, inspiration and motivation for the study of the
facts, principles, processes and applications related to various topics and issues of social studies.
As far as the organization of the tours and excursion for reaping such benets is concerned, we
can nd that the eld of such organization is very wide and extensive. For this purpose, a
beginning can be made right from the very vicinity of the school. In the rural areas, a social
studies teacher may take his students for a small trip of the nearby elds and show harvesting
processes and events, means of local irrigation, sight of ponds, rivers, glaciers, springs,
mountains and hilly areas, mines, deserts, sea beaches, places of dairy farming and animals
rearing, cow dung gas plants, solar heating and power generating plants, etc. In the urban areas,
the social studies students may be taken to various industrial units, plants and business
establishments, power house, milk plant, railway station, air port, sea port, post ofce, banks,
telephone exchange, information and communication centre, cinema halls, theatres, cultural and
social centres, zoo, historical buildings, colleges, universities, various official buildings of the
state and central government and working places, state assemblies and Parliament, arts and cras
centre and academies. If visits are arranged in a way in which the rural students get opportunities
to visit the places and interact with the living environment of urban areas or big cities and the
students belonging to the urban areas or big cities get in touch with the rural environment, its
surroundings and people, then it can surely be a big asset for each of these groups in enriching
and adding to the workable real grasping of the facts, principles and processes of social studies.
Going further the students can also be taken to some more exciting and elaborative tours and
excursions to various places of interests. This is, however, related much to the vicarious
experiences concerning social studies, and depends on well attempted planning and organization
on the part of a social studies teacher.
Community survey: In this type of activities, students are asked to have a survey of their
community with the objective of studying their way of life; living status; economic conditions;
political, social and national awareness; health and sanitation consciousness; cultural traditions,
norms and ethics of life; occupation and professions that they undertake; the condition and status
of the spread of educational facilities; the ways of nourishing and dealing with their children;
their attitude towards life and people of other areas; and status, countries or religion. Through
such survey, opportunities are provided to them for gaining a variety of experiences to have the
required information and knowledge regarding the way of life of the people of their community
and situations and circumstances prevailing in the community and society in which they have to
live, work and adjust accordingly to the societal expectations. Such valuable experiences may

then help them in enriching various areas and elds of their social studies curriculum besides
being helpful in their all round development and growth as useful citizen of the community and
the country. However, for carrying out such useful social or community survey, a social studies
teacher should move quite cautiously. He should rst try to acquaint and train the students with
proper art and skill of doing such a survey.
Community welfare services or activities: Staff and students of social studies, through the
platform of the social studies club or the initiative taken by the school authorities, may come
forward for the organization of services and activities for the welfare of the community on the
regular basis or on the occasion of some special needs. Such special occasions are as follows

Providing voluntary services at the time of natural calamities and disasters like
earthquakes, volcanic eruption, bus, train or air accidents, re broke outs; riots and bomb
blasts; epidemics and medical urgencies; and other national emergencies. Taking
initiative or helping the community in tree plantation drive. Taking initiative or helping
the community in measures of pollution control. Organizing the programmes and
projects related to adult and continuing education. Taking initiative or helping the
community in the drive for the eradication of communicable diseases, AIDS, Polio, etc.
Providing voluntary services for the proper organization of the community fairs, and
festivals.
Providing voluntary services and help to the needy patients under treatment or
emergency at the health centres and hospitals.
Taking initiative or helping the community in the cleanliness drive.
Providing voluntary services in the programmes and projects related to family planning
and family welfare.
Providing help in the success of the community welfare projects, state sponsored or
national projects, schemes, programmes and drives by educating the people and
providing services for their execution.

Organization of the community welfare services mentioned here may thus give valuable
opportunities to the staff and the students of social studies for coming closer to the people of the
community and understanding their problems, besides winning their condence, cooperation and
goodwill. While working inside the community, they also come closer to their way of life and the
resources of the community. Such closeness may then pave the appropriate ways and means for
the utilization of the services of the community resources for education and welfare of the
students related to the attainment of the objectives of social studies teaching. Thus, both the
approaches of bringing community to the school and taking school to the community may help a
social studies teacher to have ways and means for the proper utilization of the man-material
resources of the community in the task and activities related to the desired teaching-learning of
the subject social studies, besides contributing towards the welfare and all round development of
the social studies students.

SUMMARY . - . . .
1. The means and sources belonging to a community or social environment which are helpful in
the realization of the various aims and objectives of social studies teaching are referred to as
community resources. These may be named or classied as sources of geographical interest,
historical interest, political interest, religious interest, economic interest, social and cultural
interest, scientic and technological interest, and sources connected with the government
machinery.
2. Resources of the community may prove helpful and advantageous from the viewpoint of the
teaching and learning of social studies specically in terms of their being (i) a unique source of
knowledge, (ii) a spontaneous way of effective teaching, (iii) a supplement of the work of
classroom teaching, (iv) helpful in the all round development of the personality, (v) capable of
entertaining and the utilization of leisure time, (vi) providing education for effective social
living.
3. The activities related to the utilization of community resources may be organized by adopting
two major approaches, namely (i) bringing community to the school, and (ii) taking school to the
community. In adopting the rst approach, a social studies teacher may resort to the activities
such as formation of teacher-parent association, formation of alumni association, inviting
imminent persons of the community, celebrating, fairs, festivals and national days, and
organizing various social service programmes in the school. In resorting to the second approach,
he has to take into consideration the measures such as organization of tours and excursions,
community survey, community welfare services or activities.

REFERENCE
Maurice P., Social Studies InstructionOrganisation, Teaching and Supervision of the Social
Studies in Secondary Schools, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1950.
suceesreo READINGS . Aldrich, Julian C., The Community as a Laboratory for Social Studies,
Journal of Educational Sociology 14:33-39, September, 1940.

ASSIGNMENT :
ON SOCIAL SCIENCE

ARUNA.P.DEV
SOCIAL SCIENCE