Communities are very real and natural. Humans create communities, because this is how we live and survive. Our look at communities does however differ greatly depending on our profession. Are we a politician, a sociologist, a manufacturer of consumer goods?
Educators hope that understanding a community might tell us something about the individual in the particular community. The difficulty is, however, that every single one of us is part of a number of communities.
I am a fan of SC Freiburg. The club and its fans have a very clear image. But I am also a musician, a father, a partner to my girlfriend, a German citizen, a student. I am part of many communities.
Looking at me as a football fan, we might make assumptions which are possibly wrong as soon as I leave the football stadium, because other communities will tell you different, sometimes opposing things about me.
In a classroom full of pupils, every single one of them is member of a variety of communities, too. Can we make assumptions about the individuals in a classroom, simply because they share the same room at the same time?
Yes we should be looking at communities, but with caution. Whenever we are putting community first, we are putting the individual second. But as educators, we should always put the individual first. We should examine the individuals and then see, what they have in common, not the other way around. We are here to help the individual. And we must not forget that looking at communities may very well blur our judgements.