Obviously, creating a singular definition of community is difficult, but looking at the etymology of the word might be helpful, at least with regard to the purposes of this paper. The latin word, “ com ”, means to be “with, together, or complete.” It is the root for many significant words, such as communication, compatible, and combine. Now, if we take “com” and add another Latin word, “ ūnus ”, which means “one” and we can create the word, “ communis ” which means “shared in common.” From communis is derived our modern day word, community. However, a more literal translation would suggest, “to come together as one.” This core definition of the word seems to be present in most explanations of its meaning.
Simply, community is a group of individuals unified behind a common purpose. From the many definitions given, we see some common traits that can be applied to our definition of community, traits which foster unity. I believe the following are the four most prominent characteristics of community, especially as it relates to creating a positive school community that supports student success:
● A positive school community provides regular opportunities for interaction (communication, collaboration, etc.)
● A positive school community fosters a feeling of belonging and identity
● A positive school community provides social control of behaviors (norms, moral motivators, etc.)
● A positive school community provides each individual an opportunity to contribute.
As educators, we should be aware of these characteristics and look for opportunities to build learning experiences into our curricula and the school culture.
(1) "Community : The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology : Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Online". www.sociologyencyclopedia.com . Retrieved 2017-04-14.
(2) MacQueen, K. M., McLellan, E., Metzger, D. S., Kegeles, S., Strauss, R. P., Scotti, R., . . . Trotter, R. T. (2001, December). What Is Community? An Evidence-Based Definition for Participatory Public Health. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446907/
(3) Humphrey, M. (2015, April 06). Is Online Community Real, 'Virtual' Or Something Else? Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhumphrey/2015/04/06/is-online-community-real-virtual-or-something-else/#5f874f493c62