Student perceptions and attitudes about Community Service-Learning in the teacher training curriculum
Much of the international research on Community Service-Learning has investigated the benefits, outcomes, and learning experiences of students already engaged in service-learning projects and programmes. As there is scant research on students\' attitudes to and perceptions of Service-Learning, before this learning became integrated into an academic programme, our purpose was to determine teacher training students\' attitudes to, and perceptions of, Community Service-Learning, before integration of such a module into their academic programmes. A quantitative survey, employing a questionnaire as instrument, was used for measuring the attitudes and perceptions of third-year teacher training students (n = ±168) at a research university in South Africa. The Community Service-Learning Attitudes and Perception Scale (CSLAPS), developed specifically for this kind of investigation, was used in the analysis of the data. The findings indicated that students with prior knowledge of and/or participation in a community service project showed greater willingness to enrol for a course/ module in Community Service-Learning, especially if it would add value to their career development, bear credits, and enhance their personal and social development. The findings provided information that would enable academic staff and institutions to design curricula for academic programmes that take account of these attitudes and perceptions and address them positively to enhance the learning experience.
Keywords: academic programme; attitudes; citizenship; Community Service-Learning; curricular community engagement; curriculum; perceptions;quantitative study; teacher training
South African Journal of Education Vol. 27 (4) 2007: pp. 631-654
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