Education as Change - Volume 11, Issue 3, 2007
Volume 11, Issue 3, 2007
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 1 –2 (2007)More Less
This special issue of Education as Change focusing on service learning emerged from the commitment of the CHESP research team in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to disseminating research in the field. We wish to encourage scholarly enquiry into CSL, such as publishing the work emanating from the research project in the Faculty in 2004-2006, and the conference of April 2005.
Author Lesley Le GrangeSource: Education as Change 11, pp 3 –13 (2007)More Less
As a relatively new education phenomenon community service-learning has been subjected to various criticisms. One of the criticisms is that its theoretical foundation is thin. In this article I review efforts at tracing the theoretical roots of service-learning. Furthermore, I trouble the idea of seeking theoretical alibis for justifying educational work generally and service-learning more specifically. I argue that tracing the theoretical roots of service-learning is based on arborescent thinking, which is hierarchical and dichotomous. I propose that service-learning might be thought of rhizomatically so as to affirm what is excluded in western thought, creating new knowledge spaces in which indigenous knowledge and western knowledge can be transformed and integrated.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 15 –21 (2007)More Less
In recent times there has been a proliferation of community service learning projects within universities. The aim of this paper is not to refute community service learning initiatives within higher education, but rather to draw attention to the ways in which power relations might be concealed within them, ultimately subjecting them to the very same forces they claim to be resisting. We urge for the need to go beyond rhetoric and to examine the underlying assumptions that inform current practices - explicitly or implicitly. Foucault's work on power and empowerment has been found to be useful in understanding the relationships between service, power, participation and learning. We conclude by pointing out that all is not lost and propose reflexivity as a strategy that may assist to more critically interrogate the ways in which we recruit service learning and community participation into higher education in South Africa.
Author Doria DanielsSource: Education as Change 11, pp 23 –36 (2007)More Less
To educate university students to be critical engagers of ABET requires the reorganisation of the educational sites in ways that enable students to make rulings about how society is historically and socially constructed. Academic service-learning is a pedagogy that lends itself to such reorganisation and outcomes. In this article I report on research that I conducted on how an academic service learning module can advance critical citizenship in students. After the initial lecture sessions in the university classroom, the students are placed at an ABET center where they experience first hand the academic and social environment of the ABET learner. Data was collected through reflective journals and a focused reflective interview with the students after their service period was completed. Based on my analysis of their reflective journal entries and transcriptions, the findings show that the B Ed Honours students grew personally and professionally. The narratives that they produced were emancipatory in that students started questioning their own biases about non-literate learners as knowledge makers as well as the roles that politics and power play in shaping educational experiences. Furthermore, the students became more reflective about their own roles as educators and the consequence of their actions on their own students in schools.
A case study of Phumani Paper as a Community Engagement initiative at the University of JohannesburgAuthor Kim BermanSource: Education as Change 11, pp 37 –45 (2007)More Less
This paper focuses on a case-study that shows a degree of incompatibility between community engagement and Institutional research culture. The paper draws on the experience of managing a national community programme through the bureaucratic structures of a tertiary institution. It evaluates the outcomes of a poverty alleviation programme funded by government that began with idealistic aims - to use the University environment to transfer new research and technologies for rural development, and establish hand papermaking as a new cultural industry in South Africa. The research component set out to challenge the rigid boundaries that often exist between formal and informal learning environments. The findings show that the link between Phumani Paper and its core research and teaching programme has the potential to transform relationships between higher education and the community. Furthermore, the 'transformational' nature of that relationship has the ability to open a window of activity which is rapidly closing as a result of more conservative scientific practices being favoured in the merged institution of University of Johannesburg.
From notions of charity to social justice in service-learning : the complex experience of communitiesSource: Education as Change 11, pp 47 –58 (2007)More Less
Due to increasing popularity and widespread adoption service-learning is in danger of becoming a technical practice with a 'charity' oriented form of engagement with communities. The purpose of the current study was to explore a more 'justice' oriented approach to researching the effect of service-learning on the communities that serve as sites for this form of curriculum. This was attempted through, firstly, developing an understanding of how two communities (learners and schools) experienced a service learning programme run as a psychology module at the University of KwaZulu Natal, and secondly, exploring what the use of participatory techniques might be in service-learning research. The results revealed that participatory approaches to research with communities may be more suited to the complex context of service-learning than traditional non-participatory approaches. The effect of service-learning on the communities involved in the research revealed that practitioners need to move beyond notions of 'benefit' to explore the paradoxical and ambivalent nature of the engagement between higher education institutions and communities that are the object of service.
Getting closer to the community voice in curriculum development : an exploration of the possibilitiesAuthor Melanie AlpersteinSource: Education as Change 11, pp 59 –67 (2007)More Less
Policy in Higher Education in South Africa is urging tertiary institutions to become socially responsive in regard to community development, to produce new knowledge and to produce graduates who are critical and responsive citizens. One method of achieving this is through service-learning initiatives. Community-based service-learning values the principle of institutions of higher education working in partnership with communities to develop education programmes for students. Through collaborative engagement in developing the programmes, the assumption is that not only will academic, discipline or professional needs be met, but that community members will benefit and gain new knowledge. There is an assumption that there will be mutual benefit and learning.
Most research on service-learning has focused on student learning, course outcomes and issues surrounding faculty or university. Very little research has been conducted regarding what communities or community services bring, or could bring to health sciences education. This paper will focus on health sciences community-based service-learning for medical students and will explore
a. To what extent, and through which mechanisms community members are able to express their knowledge and skills in the design of the community based courses and curriculum development.
b. Whether there is mutual learning and benefit and if so, what these are.
The paper is based on piloting an in-depth interview with a community organisation that has hosted various students over a number of years.
The paper illuminates the overt and tacit knowledge of the community organisation, which helps guide the university staff and students and could impact on curriculum development. The paper discusses the ways in which community knowledge and skills are acknowledged or disregarded in curricula and suggests ways in which this knowledge could enhance health professional education.
Author N.J. NdunaSource: Education as Change 11, pp 69 –78 (2007)More Less
The growth of service-learning in higher education is attributed to its potential to enhance academic learning and contribute to the quality of life in communities, thus benefiting both the higher education institution and the community. Whilst acknowledging the importance of student outcomes, this article focuses on the community dimensions of service-learning in higher education. The article presents the community perspective on community needs, SL benefits, students' performance and areas of improvement in SL practice. It also highlights a gap in higher educationin terms of the lack of research on the community dimension of service-learning. The article argues that SL practice could improve and its impact on communities could increase if the voice of the community is heard. The article calls for increased community involvement and partnerships in the evaluation process that relates to the planning and implementation of SL. The article therefore attempts to fill a gap that has been noted as a glaring omission in the literature.
Civic engagement and service learning : implications for higher education in America and South AfricaSource: Education as Change 11, pp 79 –89 (2007)More Less
Higher education, regardless of social context and geographic location, undergoes change. The challenge for higher education is to understand its history, articulate and accept its role with regard to diverse constituencies in society, and create an "appropriate future" within its social context (Du Pre, 2003; Thelin, 2004). In what ways are service learning and civic engagement shaped by context, and in what ways do these two trends contribute to higher education's trajectory for an "appropriate future" as a mature, responsible, and responsive institution within society?
Embedding service learning in South African higher education : the catalytic role of the CHESP initiativeAuthor Jo LazarusSource: Education as Change 11, pp 91 –108 (2007)More Less
Service-learning (SL) was a relatively unknown term in South African (SA) Higher Education (HE) until the late 1990's. In response to the call of the White Paper on the Transformation of Higher Education for "feasibility studies and pilot programmes which explore the potential of community service in higher education" the Joint Education Trust (JET) launched the Community - Higher Education - Service Partnerships (CHESP) initiative in 1999. The major focus of this initiative was to assist SA Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to conceptualise and implement SL as a means of giving expression to the mandate given in the White Paper. This paper tracks the development of the CHESP initiative and its contribution towards embedding SL in SA HE. The paper highlights some of the key outcomes at an institutional and national level and underpins these through the results of a comprehensive external review of CHESP undertaken in 2007, eight years after the initial launch.
Author Mabel ErasmusSource: Education as Change 11, pp 109 –126 (2007)More Less
Over the past five years or more, the innovative, challenging educational approach of service learning has been introduced at an ever-increasing number of South African higher education institutions. In this article, the focus will be on the gap that exists between the rhetoric of a renewed focus on community engagement (and service learning in particular) and the reality of staff members' perceptions in respect of the lack of substantial support for their efforts. The distinction made by Kerry Ann O'Meara (2003) between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for staff to engage in service learning will set the stage for the discussion. In addition, O'Meara's suggested reframing of incentives and rewards from different vantage points (i.e. the structural, human resource, political and symbolic frames) will form the basis for the evaluation of data acquired through a service learning staff survey conducted at the University of the Free State (UFS). This institutional example will illustrate how the UFS has only recently taken the first steps on the road towards equitable recognition for staff involved in service learning.
Author C.J. Gerda BenderSource: Education as Change 11, pp 127 –142 (2007)More Less
This article is based on a theory of educational change and sets out new pathways for thinking about Curricular Community Engagement with the emphasis on Community Service-Learning. In particular, three different segments in educational change processes are examined - the external, the internal and the personal. A socio-systemic approach is adopted in analysing the importance these three segments have for educational change. It is noted that the external forces of change (national policies and audit criteria) influencing Curricular Community Engagement (CCE) and specifically Community Service-Learning (CSL) are dominant but internal processes at higher education institutions (HEIs) and the personal beliefs and missions of academics do not feature strongly at present. It is argued that increasing attention will need to be paid to the personal mission and purposes of academics, which underpin academic staff members' commitment to change processes for curriculum reform. Without a fully conceptualised notion of how the external, internal and personal interlink, the existing educational change for CCE and specifically CSL, will remain underdeveloped and of progressively less use at HEIs in South Africa.
Design, implementation and preliminary evaluation of an introductory service-learning elective for pharmacy studentsSource: Education as Change 11, pp 143 –156 (2007)More Less
Health promotion is an effective strategy to address the increasing global burden of noncommunicable diseases. A paradigm shift in pharmacy practice requires pharmacists to be more proactive in dealing with community health issues. In order to prepare pharmacy students for their changing role, a service-learning elective incorporating health promotion, was designed and implemented. This was to provide students the opportunity to achieve the critical cross-field outcomes to which Rhodes University aspires; and to empower the community with knowledge for the prevention and management of priority chronic health conditions in South Africa.
Under supervision, groups of final year pharmacy students researched these health conditions and designed interactive health promotion activities. These were presented at the 2007 Sasol National Festival of Science and Technology (SciFest). A cross-section of children and adults visited the exhibit. Feedback indicated that this interaction between students and the community was effective in raising awareness and providing information on certain health conditions. After SciFest, student perceptions of the elective were evaluated using the small group instructional diagnosis method. Students reported increased knowledge and the development of skills required by practising pharmacists.
Our preliminary conclusion is that the application of service-learning can and does contribute to the achievement of certain critical cross-field outcomes.
Contextualising undergraduate pharmacy training in service-learning at the University of the Western CapeSource: Education as Change 11, pp 157 –167 (2007)More Less
The pharmacy profession necessitates continual revision of undergraduate training to meet both changing and challenging health needs. Service-learning is a teaching methodology that assists health professions and academic training institutions in facilitating curriculum changes to improve the competence of pharmacy graduates. This method addresses the core requirements as stipulated by the South African Pharmacy Council for entry-level pharmacists. The aim of service-learning was to introduce an educational intervention for students that would enable them to rotate between the classroom and the workplace with the goal to provide them with the opportunity to accumulate learning experiences in both contexts. This article presents the development of the pharmacotherapy service-learning module as a case study which can be used as an exemplar for other service-learning modules. Fourth year students participating in the service-learning module were the focus of this study. Data was collected in various ways through focus groups, written reports, on-site assessments and feedback sessions and this provided the primary data for this research. Data was analysed by identifying common themes in the primary data. Students indicated that they were able to obtain an overview of the primary health care system, gain confidence in counselling and dispensing, and apply pharmacological concepts.
Pre-service teacher education students' engagement with care and social justice in a service learning moduleSource: Education as Change 11, pp 169 –181 (2007)More Less
This study investigates pre-service teacher education students' engagement with service learning at a South African university. The service learning module was premised on a framework of caring and social justice. A critical discourse analysis technique (Fairclough, 2003) along with content analysis and a hybrid form of ethnomethodological analysis (EA) was used to explore students' meaning making. The findings show that students performed mainly as 'technicians' of service who largely misunderstood the purpose and intention of service learning. Students also positioned themselves as observers of the 'other' in a troubled world and took up positions as subjects in the service learning, pathologising the 'diseased other'. In addition, the investigation reveals that students were challenged by service learning as an experienced/experiential curriculum and that for the majority of students there was only a transient development of their personal and professional knowledge.
Author Wilhelm Van RensburgSource: Education as Change 11, pp 183 –189 (2007)More Less
This paper reflects on a research project aimed at assessing student learning in a Community Service Learning (CSL) project. A group of 50 student teachers in a Language Teaching programme in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg were required to offer their 'language' services to community organisations, in particular, their writing skills as a form of service. Apart from the writing they did for and with the community, the students also wrote about the community as part of the Due Performance requirements of their Language Teaching programme. While offering their services, these students generated a wealth of multimodal texts and artifacts, ranging from posters, flyers, and advertisements, to educational supplements and brochures. Positioning the research in the theoretical frameworks of Service Learning theory and the Multiliteracies Project of the New London Group the aim of the project was to assess the learning these students had done as a consequence of their Community Service. I argue that this type of service augments student teachers' academic literacies by developing their social literacies about the communities they will service in their capacities as teaching professionals, becoming truly 'multiliterate' in the process. I also argue that CSL enables student teachers to understand language education in general, and writing instruction in particular in a new way. The major finding from a Critical Discourse Analysis of the verbal and visual texts and artifacts these students generated, reveals that although student language teachers are confronted with new writing genres in the communitiesand new ways of assessing successful writing in these contexts, they clearly saw the need for social action in communities as well as the need for social critique of community work.