Across our immediate quarters, community projects and classes abound. They can be a great way for people (say, an artist or a homemaker) with skills to earn extra. It can also help strengthen the community and provide positive activities for kids to do after school.
What’s more, a good community class if planned and managed is able to reach out to a wide variety of community members. Here’s a list of considerations for you to help make them happen in your own neighborhood.
Who can take up these classes?
Both, an individual or a shared group.
Typically pooling resources as a group endeavor can also be shouldered by a neighborhood organization or a Sub-Committee. Tasks like planning, organizing, monitoring, promoting and improvising can be shared among the group where every person offers their domain expertise corresponding to their area of specialization.
Individually speaking, since community living ensures people of diverse professional backgrounds living in closed proximity, the advantage lies in shared experiences. For instance, a script writer for a TV production unit can take classes for children on creative writing, while a Computer Graphics Designer can help out in teaching children the basics of art and instill concepts of visualizing and color mixing while drawing on Computers. Also a media personality with specialization in programme anchoring on TV can teach children about diction and oratory skills.
Setting your Goals and Objectives
Although it may sound too formal to set goals and objectives like we do in our respective professional spheres, replicating it in neighborhood classes with some degree of liberty will work wonders. Working with specific defined goals as also a list of quantifiable outcomes can be a yardstick of your success. For instance, you can keep track of targeted vis-à-vis actual students over a period of time. This apart, it could cover attendee responses to assess the value of experience after the classes are over. Since neighborhood classes can go beyond educating and close the critical gaps in a learner friendly environment, its utility can last a lifetime. Hence your defined goals can show this. At a personal level, I might be having my undiscovered biases, and even though I can’t guarantee that you will develop objectives manifesting community-building hopes, I might just be enticed to suggest that you do so.
Assessing Potential Class Offerings
Subject announcements can be made and topics invited. Some illustrative classes to take are
- Skill development Training
- Cooking & Nutrition
- Film Appreciation
- Oratory & Diction training for Children
- Creative writing for Children
- Pottery and Craft
- Dance, Drama and Music
Class configuration and Size concerns
Ideally, limiting class size to maximum 15 with substantial amount of small groups can ensure quality in class participations and give them the option of discussing the topic in greater detail, or maybe researching on the topic, collecting data or honing a newly learnt skill. Personal interaction also fosters intense bonding among the participants.
A good way to promote your class can be through door to door delivery of flyers. Your email list of membership can also be used for this purpose. Besides, a common neighborhood newsletter, event or online forum can also help in its promotion.
Location/Facilities Requisites and Consideration
Classes can be conducted in individual homes where group sizes are small. Another option is to book halls or rent rooms when the group size is large. Parks and community halls can also be chosen but public parks might insist for liability insurance. This can be a prohibitive expenditure unless of course you are able to offset it through funds from new joining.
Evaluation is a critical issue to analyze the key factors behind the success or hindrance of the neighborhood classes. If student turnout is low, there may be issues pertaining with fees or subject matter. To assess the maximum number of important variables, you need to get a feedback from the users periodically.
Neighborhood classes are a transformative way of earning social dividend through people to people interaction. Community building experiences help in emotional bonding, fellow-feeling within an amicable setting. As nuclear families in high-rises, gated communities and condominiums, are gradually leveraging the benefits of this social learning evidently, the saying “Home is where the Heart is” is expanding to “Community is where the heart is.”