Planning Service-Learning Abroad for Teacher Candidates: Teaching, Living, and Learning in Costa Rica

Planning Service-Learning Abroad for Teacher Candidates: Teaching, Living, and Learning in Costa Rica

Michele Lynn Regalla (University of Central Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0871-7.ch007
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to provide guidelines to education college and university faculty members who are considering the implementation of an international service-learning experience for their teacher candidates. The chapter begins with a review of literature supporting the benefits of service-learning for teacher candidates. Next is a description of a service-learning trip to Costa Rica planned and implemented by an education faculty member in conjunction with a cultural diversity course designed to prepare candidates to meet the needs of English Learners (ELs). Following the description of the Costa Rica service-learning trip, the author provides guidelines and a list of questions for consideration. The guidelines are designed to assist faculty members who are considering implementing a similar service-learning experience for their teacher candidates. Finally, the chapter concludes with quotations provided by participants of the Costa Rica service-learning experience that show the overall benefits of the service-learning experience.
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Literature Review: Building An Argument For Service-Learning

In broad terms, service learning has been commonly defined as community service that involves the integration of an academic course curriculum (Berger Kaye, 2010; Bringle & Hatcher, 1995; Chapin, 1998; Jacoby, 1996; Koliba, Campbell, & Shapiro, 2006). Although service-learning may share similarities with community service programs or volunteer work, service-learning is an experience designed to benefit both the volunteer who performs the service and the community that receives the service. What differentiates service-learning from other types of volunteer work or community service is the specifically planned integration of academic course curriculum. Skinner and Chapman (1999) make the distinction between general community service from community-based service learning stating “student community service is defined as community service activities that are non-curriculum-based and recognized by and/or arranged through the school; [whereas], service learning is a type of curriculum-based community service that integrates classroom instruction with community service activities” (pp. 3-4). Jacoby (1996) described the design of service learning as an experience that both connects academic curriculum with the participants’ community service experience and promotes the participants’ learning and development.

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