Citation

Have I made a difference? Reflections on a service-learning project in Egypt

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Abstract:

Service to others is a fundamental human value. Human beings all over the world commit to helping each other in some way. With that in mind, the author adapted a grant-proposal writing course to implement service-learning in her class. Seven diverse students from the American University in Cairo worked with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) on the project. The main goal was to engage the students in public service related to their education. In this paper, the author will attempt to provide a critical construction of service-learning project implementation process, the transformational effects on the students, and her changing roles as an instructor.
Theoretically, service-learning is embedded in two educational theories: constructivism and experiential education (Furco, 2001). Pedagogically though, many consider service-learning an experiential reflection-oriented approach with an emphasis on linking learning and real-life experiences. Learning takes place in cycles of action and reflection; the students engage in active learning where they reflect on the community problem and try to help solve through their theoretical knowledge (Gray et.al, 2000; Kolenko et.al, 1996; Markus, Howard, & King, 1993; Philipsen, 2003; Speck, 2001, Wilczenski & Coomey, 2007). This was very clear in the class. The students and instructor often moved swiftly between the roles of facilitators, participants, servants, researchers, and critical analysts. The paper will account for the successful practices and the challenges which resulted from that. For example, this fluidity, along with a clear implementation plan, resulted in a successful model, while limited staffing in the NGO posed a major challenge.
Although there is sufficient literature on service-learning in a western context, limited research is conducted in developing countries. The programs discussed, I hope, would show how praxis—the connection of theory and action—and service-learning can work in a classroom setting and at the same time serve the public good.

Author's Keywords:

Service Learning
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
URL:
http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492382_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ghazal, Rehab. "Have I made a difference? Reflections on a service-learning project in Egypt" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492382_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ghazal, R. , 2011-05-01 "Have I made a difference? Reflections on a service-learning project in Egypt" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492382_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Service to others is a fundamental human value. Human beings all over the world commit to helping each other in some way. With that in mind, the author adapted a grant-proposal writing course to implement service-learning in her class. Seven diverse students from the American University in Cairo worked with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) on the project. The main goal was to engage the students in public service related to their education. In this paper, the author will attempt to provide a critical construction of service-learning project implementation process, the transformational effects on the students, and her changing roles as an instructor.
Theoretically, service-learning is embedded in two educational theories: constructivism and experiential education (Furco, 2001). Pedagogically though, many consider service-learning an experiential reflection-oriented approach with an emphasis on linking learning and real-life experiences. Learning takes place in cycles of action and reflection; the students engage in active learning where they reflect on the community problem and try to help solve through their theoretical knowledge (Gray et.al, 2000; Kolenko et.al, 1996; Markus, Howard, & King, 1993; Philipsen, 2003; Speck, 2001, Wilczenski & Coomey, 2007). This was very clear in the class. The students and instructor often moved swiftly between the roles of facilitators, participants, servants, researchers, and critical analysts. The paper will account for the successful practices and the challenges which resulted from that. For example, this fluidity, along with a clear implementation plan, resulted in a successful model, while limited staffing in the NGO posed a major challenge.
Although there is sufficient literature on service-learning in a western context, limited research is conducted in developing countries. The programs discussed, I hope, would show how praxis—the connection of theory and action—and service-learning can work in a classroom setting and at the same time serve the public good.


Similar Titles:
Conducting interviews and engaging in critical reflection: A service-learning project for the online communication course

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Teacher Candidates’ Reflections on a Service Learning Project


 
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