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This chapter explores the value of a service-learning unit within a pre-service secondary teaching course. It does so through the perceptions of pre-service teachers. The…
This chapter explores the value of a service-learning unit within a pre-service secondary teaching course. It does so through the perceptions of pre-service teachers. The purpose was to determine the potential of a service-learning program to prepare pre-service secondary teachers for the classroom, both personally and professionally. The context for the research is a social justice service-learning unit offered to pre-service secondary teachers undertaking a Bachelor of Education, Master of Teaching or Graduate Diploma of Education. There were 105 participants in the study. Data collection entailed a 25- to 30-minute survey, which participants completed at the conclusion of the unit. The survey contained qualitative and quantitative questions. Data were analysed through content analysis in the case of the open-ended questions while percentages and frequency column graphs were used for the multiple response questions. The results revealed that the personal and professional development of pre-service secondary teachers had been impacted significantly as a result of engagement in service-learning activities. Additionally, participants listed a range of ‘memorable’ experiences, highlighted various challenges associated with service-learning, indicated ways service-learning prepared them for their teaching practicum, and noted the importance of including service-learning as part of a teaching degree. An over-arching theme that emerged repeatedly in the comments of the pre-service teachers was the need to adopt an inclusive attitude in their teaching practice. The chapter concludes with the authors offering recommendations that focus on further research into the viability of service-learning programs in pre-service teaching courses.
This chapter is divided into three main sections. The first section entails an overview of service-learning. Specifically, this section provides an understanding of what…
This chapter is divided into three main sections. The first section entails an overview of service-learning. Specifically, this section provides an understanding of what service-learning involves, its central components, and its place and value within both higher education and K-12 education. A key consideration stemming from this section is that well-designed service-learning programs have a significant impact on the development of pre-service teachers while at the same time benefiting community partners. The second section reviews the concept of inclusive education. In particular, a working definition of inclusive education is proffered along with ways in which inclusive education is implemented in practice. An important consideration is the development of attitudes and knowledge for inclusive education in both pre-service and in-service teacher training. The third section explores the symbiosis between service-learning and inclusive education. The point being made is that service-learning experiences provide a viable and practical way for people to engage with children and adults who live on the margins of society. This point is especially apposite, as given research suggests that many teachers, especially in Western countries, originate from a middle-class, female population (Grant & Sleeter, 2009), which may prevent interaction with diverse populations. The chapter concludes with the understanding that service-learning has the capacity to engender a greater sense of empathy and appreciation in pre-service teachers that education is an inclusive enterprise.
The quote above was taken from the actor Brendan Gleeson, who struck a chord with Irish people in his outburst about the lack of care shown to the old and vulnerable…
The quote above was taken from the actor Brendan Gleeson, who struck a chord with Irish people in his outburst about the lack of care shown to the old and vulnerable during the years preceding the economic downturn in 2008. In the Irish case, it has always been the marginalised and poorest who have suffered at the hands of the pride and greed of the ruling elite. This chapter will establish an understanding of the ideologically driven and often tragic economic planning undertaken in the Irish state since Independence in 1922. The chapter will outline the problems associated with political elites which then became manifest in the socio-economic life of the country. These problems were political, but also cultural, and shaped the difficulties that have befallen the Irish state in almost every decade of its history.