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29 Jul 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
Society and culture, Technology

What do people mean when they talk about community?

LEVEL: Intermediate

You are part of a community, your school and your neighbourhood are both types of communities. Communities can be made up of people that live in one area, but they can also be a group of people who have a shared interest. 

HOT TIP: Not sure what a word means? Try using Google as a dictionary. Type the word 'define' in front of the word you want to understand, then click Search. So if you wanted to define the word community, your search would be define community. This searches for all the meanings on the web that define your word. 

We like the definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as it's easy to understand and from a reputable source. It also gives some examples of different types of communities

To develop the theme of community and communities have a look at The Encyclopedia Britannica, which is one of the EPIC Resources. Using the 'Secondary' option and entering communities will result in information on the biological community, ecological communities and religious communities; there is also an entry for Utopia, the ideal community.

(To access this EPIC you will need a password from your school librarian. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online.) 

You may have heard about the New Zealand Chinese community or the Dalmatian community. These communities are made up of people who share a cultural background. Te Ara:The Encyclopedia of New Zealand has lots of information about different cultural communities in New Zealand.

  • To find the information click on the 'Sections' tab near the top of the home page, then select the New Zealand Peoples option.
  • We can then pick a community from the list.

If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so we know the information is well-researched and reliable. 

HOT TIP: We like a site like this because it is reliable. You can tell because of the web address – it has a .govt, meaning it is from a government organisation. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us. 

Another type of community is an intentional community; they are sometimes called communes. These are made up of people with a common belief or religion living together.

Online communities are another community of people with a shared interest. Online communities can be made up of people who live all over the world and connect over the internet. These communities include social networking sites and multiplayer video games like Minecraft

If you join an online community make sure you follow the safety rules. The BBC Bitesize website has a page Communication and collaboration which looks at the advantages and disadvantages of online communities

HOT TIP: Websites that have .org or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are. 

Another place to look is Wikipedia which has great coverage of many topics. This website also offers a definition followed by descriptions of what a community is. But you need to be aware that this information is contributed by lots of different people; if you are using this site, it always pays to check the information against that on other sites or in books from the library. 

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