Disrupting worldviews: Methodological and pedagogical issues in community-driven service learning

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Dr Gabrielle Russell-Mundine
Julie Maakrun
Prof Juanita Sherwood

Service learning brings students and communities together to apply discipline knowledge to real world problems. It is a form of community service, a pedagogical methodology, a strategy for cultural competence and awareness, a social justice orientation and a philosophical worldview (Butin 2006). Developing a service learning program that is driven by and responsive to community needs and priorities requires clear articulation of the pedagogies, methodologies and philosophical underpinnings of the program. 

This presentation aims to articulate these points by drawing on the authors’ recent experiences of developing service learning projects in western New South Wales and Kenya. The aim of service learning in these contexts is intended to be a transformative educational experience that disrupts students’ worldviews and helps them to engage authentically and effectively with communities while working on projects that provide tangible benefits to those communities. 

The presentation will focus particularly on the critical methodological and pedagogical issues underpinning ethical community-driven service learning, building ethical and mutually beneficial relationships with community and the effective preparation of students for placement.