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Joining In

Teacher notes

Students investigate the kinds, structures and functions of groups in a community. They examine how and why people participate in these groups. Through organising and participating in their own group, students explore the characteristics of community groups. They make links between community groups and how local government supports them. Students investigate ways that other people can participate in community groups.

About the unit | Indicators of student achievement | Background notes |
Other resources
| Links to other learning areas

About the unit

  • The nature, purpose, structures and procedures of community groups
  • Project planning and evaluation

Contexts: school and community groups, Clean Up Australia Campaign, local government services

Indicators of student achievement

The student can:

  • describe the roles and purposes of community groups
  • evaluate benefits and costs of membership in community groups
  • actively participate in project planning and decision-making.

Background notes

In a civil society, people form links with others in many ways. We are members of families, friendship groups, neighbourhoods, political and sporting groups, church and social groups. These links create networks which allow us to participate in the rich and diverse social life of a community. Citizenship includes involvement in the civil life of a community whether it be through formal membership or informal association.

The purposes of these groups vary and reflect the needs and interests of the community they serve. Groups undertake a wide range of activities including service-based projects such as Meals on Wheels, conservation and heritage projects and cultural and recreational activities. Whatever the purposes of such groups, they result in people working together in a social context that extends beyond their own home. It creates the bonds of trust, the skills of cooperation and the values that bind communities together. Democracies rely on this interaction.

Community groups organise themselves in ways best suited to help them achieve their purposes. Some use formal structures with elected office-bearers, others prefer a system based on consensus or group decision-making. Democratically run organisations have rules, which are often written in a constitution, so that everyone in the group knows what is expected and how they can make decisions as a member of the group.

To read more about the ideas in this unit refer to Discovering Democracy - A Guide to Government and Law in Australia.

Other resources

The groups mentioned in the Handouts (including local councils) supply lots of valuable information in a range of forms including visitors' books, brochures and posters. Most of them also have websites. Teachers may wish to contact these groups for further information.

Links to other learning areas

Studies of society and environment
  • journal writing
  • posters
  • letter writing
  • brochures
  • local community studies
  • culture
  • heritage

Back to 'Joining In - At a glance'

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