Formative reflections of university recreation science students in South Africa as catalyst for an adapted service-learning program

Author: Anneliese Goslin*, Engela van der Klashorst*, Darlene A. Kluka^ and Johannes G. U. van Wyk*
* University of Pretoria, South Africa
^ Barry University, Florida, USA

Edition: Volume 56, Number 1, April 2016

Summary: Community-university partnerships through service-learning have progressively developed as part of institutions of higher education’s mission statements. This paper explores the qualitative reflections of 410 undergraduate students enrolled in an academic recreation science course on a first time service-learning experience in South Africa. The study asks the question: ‘how can pre-service and formative reflections used in a social constructive approach impact on collaborative, indepth learning?’ Students were tasked to keep reflective journals to express concerns as pre-service-learning and formative reflections over a four week, twenty hour service-learning experience. The servicelearning program aligned with the social constructivism principles of collaborative learning, which occurred under the guidance and supervision of a lecturer, was embedded in a realistic problem, required collaborative problem solving and collaboration with the community partner and involved self-direction and self-management of students. Both pre-service and formative reflection themes changed over the three year study period. Results suggested that the initial service-learning experience did not contribute to a positive attitude towards community engagement and did not contribute to skill development. Results of the study confirmed the value of reflection as a tool in service-learning and commensurate with the overall aim and purpose of service-learning in institutions of higher education.

Keywords: higher education, recreation science, reflection, service-learning, social constructivism, South Africa

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 56_1. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

Posted in Higher Education, Journal edition