Empowering Indigenous Adolescents: Life Skills Development and Transformative Student Engagement Through Service-Learning

Empowering Indigenous Adolescents: Life Skills Development and Transformative Student Engagement Through Service-Learning

Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-5933-4.ch007
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This chapter synthesizes results from examining service-learning initiatives tailored for Indigenous adolescents. The authors emphasize customized educational approaches, community collaboration, and cultural sensitivity. The Paniya Tribes case study in Wayanad illustrates efforts of this kind that seek to address historical inequities and enhance students' academic performance, life skills, and engagement. The enduring impact extends beyond academics, empowering young people to take on leadership roles. Cultural sensitivity and the responsible application of technology are two factors that can significantly impact Indigenous education's trajectory in the future. Implementing suggested strategies and optimal methods advances inclusive and culturally attuned education, thereby preserving Indigenous cultures and fostering sustainable development.
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1. Introduction

Indigenous adolescents, who comprise a multitude of cultural communities with rich historical backgrounds, confront unique challenges within the domain of education. These adolescents, who are deeply rooted in their communities, encounter disparities in academic opportunities as well as social and emotional well-being. It is critical to recognize and address these challenges in a productive manner in order to foster their autonomy and ensure a prosperous future (Ball, 2021). This chapter delves into the intricacies of empowering Indigenous adolescents by examining the concept of service learning. It places a particular emphasis on the cultivation of life skills and students' transformative involvement. We launch an inquiry into the historical context that shapes the present-day challenges faced by Indigenous communities. Our inquiry establishes the foundation for understanding the complex educational landscape that Indigenous youth navigate through an analysis of the lasting consequences of historical events and contemporary socioeconomic disparities. We cannot overstate the importance of student engagement and the cultivation of life skills. As one delves deeper into the complexities of education, it becomes evident that traditional approaches often necessitate modification in order to accommodate the unique needs of Indigenous adolescents. Therefore, it is imperative to explore innovative and culturally attuned methodologies. As stated in this chapter, service learning is an adaptable and efficacious pedagogical approach that improves the academic experiences of Indigenous adolescents while fostering their holistic development (Nabors et al., 2019; Young & Karme, 2015).

Service learning, which is based on the principles of experiential learning and active engagement in the community, possesses the capacity to tackle the multifaceted challenges encountered by Indigenous communities (Dolgon et al., 2017). By integrating community service into scholarly curricula, this methodology offers an innovative pathway to cultivating empowerment. The aim of this chapter is to provide insight into the potential of service learning to stimulate positive change among adolescents of Indigenous descent. Bridging educational gaps facilitates the development of vital life skills, which are indispensable for individuals' holistic growth.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Life Skills Development: Teaching practical skills beyond academic knowledge, encompassing problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and adaptability, to prepare students for real-world challenges and personal growth.

Sustainable Development: Social, economic, and environmental practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, fostering long-term wellbeing.

Cultural Preservation: Efforts to safeguard and maintain cultural heritage, traditions, and languages, preventing their erosion or loss over time, often involving community-driven initiatives for identity preservation.

Service-Learning Initiatives: Educational programs integrating community service with academic learning, fostering civic responsibility and practical skills while addressing community needs.

Student Engagement: Active involvement, participation, and interest of students in the learning process, creating an environment that enhances motivation, critical thinking, and knowledge retention.

Indigenous Education: Tailored learning approaches that respect and incorporate indigenous knowledge, culture, and traditions to provide equitable and culturally relevant educational experiences for indigenous communities.

Cultural Sensitivity: Awareness and respect for diverse cultural norms, values, and perspectives, promoting understanding and avoiding unintentional offence or misunderstanding in cross-cultural interactions.

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