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South African Journal of Education

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Student perceptions and attitudes about Community Service-Learning in the teacher training curriculum

G Bender, R Jordaan

Abstract




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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