UKZN and Drake University Collaborate on Service-Learning
Dr Angela James of UKZN’s School of Education and Professor Sally Beisser of Drake University in the United States are training teacher education students to reach out to community members and organisations in need through Service-Learning.
Among others, the academics are targetting crèches, drop in-centres, retirement and old age homes, schools, and environmental projects in the community.
‘Our teams work in these areas or contexts with various participants,’ said James. ‘We are interested in developing the partnership between the two universities, and extending the work that we do to other staff within our respective universities by sharing knowledge of the field, conducting research in the projects that we work in and publishing results in SAPSE accredited journals.
‘In terms of extending knowledge and conducting research, staff exchange visits and ultimately student exchange visits are planned,’ said James.
Beisser received funding from Drake University to visit UKZN and interact with Biological Science for Educators 420 Research and Service-Learning students and to present a talk at a workshop with students and staff from UKZN and the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
Supported by staff and students from UKZN, James, Dr Frances O’Brien, Ms Nompumelelo Thabethe, Reverend Dr Delysia Timm and Ms Heleen Grobelaar presented a talk on Service-Learning, the Policy, Practice and Research at their respective universities. The UKZN Biological Science for Educators 420 students presented details on their research on service learning projects they had completed at various placement sites.
One of the participants, Ms Jenny Lamb said: ‘The workshop was a great platform to share and learn from the experiences of the speakers as well as colleagues and students.’
Ms Ilana Moodley said: ‘I saw how others conduct active service learning opportunities for their students and how students actively engage in their projects and reflect on their experiences. It would be good if we can do collaborative work where students from various disciplines work together on a project.’
A variety of suggestions were made about a way forward for service learning at UKZN. A report has been compiled and will be presented to the University management.