n Education as Change - Chronicling a Faculty of Education's journey into community engagement through service learning

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This article describes and presents the communal story of three lecturers involved in the genesis and development of a multi-tiered service and support system instituted by the Faculty of Education in Johannesburg in conjunction with eight partner schools and a community organisation. The multi-tiered system comprises of pre-service teacher education students, B Ed (Hons) school counselors and M Ed Educational Psychology students. We describe the genesis of the system by first providing a contextual overview against the backdrop of a framework of social justice and care in the Faculty of Education and argue that as an academic enterprise the community engagement initiative contributes to a greater integration of theory and practice. We also posit that this integration, partly based on Bernstein's notion of an integrated curriculum, which is framed in a particular manner, leads to curriculum innovation in all the modules and also includes a revision of roles and power relationships generally assigned to lectures and students in a higher education context. Such an integrated curriculum brings enriching and rewarding experiences as well as numerous challenges. We acknowledge the role of institutional support in this process but conclude that by working collaboratively with students and community members in critically reflecting on the challenges and ways of addressing them, we are encouraged to envisage new pathways for bridging the distance between the 'academic world' and the 'world of the people'. In this way we attempt to address both structural and discursive aspects of curriculum development and in the process generate a new discourse of engagement (Palmer, Cooper & Bresler, 2001: 160).


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