Want to do something and help out in your local community? To find details of community groups in your area, just type in your postcode at Do Something Near You!
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Do Something Near You is a community-based initiative to involve local people and businesses in their community by connecting them with not-for-profit organisations and groups in their area. By typing in a town or postcode, the site returns a list of NFPs in proximity. This could form the basis for a unit of experiential learning, allowing the class to participate as group in a community organisation of their choice. Gilbert and Hoepper state that “a key element of authentic pedagogy is connectedness to the world” (2011, p. 144), and cite Scales et al (2006) in outlining the benefits of service learning in particular for students from marginalised or disadvantaged groups. With appropriate structure and scaffolding in the classroom to guide students’ understanding of the concepts of community involvement, and to develop and practise the skills that will be required in their organisation of choice – for example, if students wish to assist with Planet Ark’s National Tree Day planting, they will need to develop listening skills, collaborative skills, organisation and decision-making skills, a knowledge base around gardening and a basic familiarity with gardening tools, amongst other things – experiential and service learning can assist students to develop their independence, higher order thinking, and problem solving skills (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2011, p. 145).