Service-Learning is a form of community-based experiential learning. At Stellenbosch, following the Bringle and Hatcher formulation, service-learning is defined as:
A curriculum-based, credit-bearing and carefully structured educational experience in which students:
- Participate in an organised community interaction activity that meets identified and agreed upon community goals, and
- Reflecting on the service activity in order to gain a deeper understanding of module content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of social responsibility towards society as a whole.
This form of community interaction gives impetus to the paradigm shift of the University from service-driven to academically-based community interaction.
Epistomology and Pedagogy
Service-Learning differs from other forms of experiential learning, but also have some commonalities. Below are the main epistemological points on which it is grounded
- There is recognition of the notion that learning can by enhanced by interacting in community context
- Knowledge emerges from experience and multiple sources of knowledge exist
- In the experiential learning cycle, a cognitive synthesis of theory and practice takes place
- Reflection is the bridge between the experience and the learning that takes place
- Student develop a higher sense of self-awareness while values and perceptions change
- This leads to attitudinal changes and compassion or sensitivity for cultural diversity is likely to develop
- There is a reciprocal relationship between the university and the community which facilitate benefit to all parties involved
Models of Service-Learning
Service-Learning may be practiced on both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. On post-graduate level it is likely to take the form of community-based research. Methodologies like participatory action research or action research may be applicable. One or more of following models of service-learning may be applied in different contexts:
- “Pure” service-learning
- Capstone courses
- Service Internships
- Community-based action research
For more information on these models, please contact the Office.