ERIC Number: ED417010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Aug
Assessing Caring in Young Adolescent Students Participating in Service Learning.
Hecht, Deborah; Fusco, Dana; Schine, Joan; Berkson, Nancy
Using as prompts scenarios of interaction at a preschool and senior center, this study examined student responses concerning the degree of caring exhibited. Data were collected from middle school students before and after participating in a service learning program involving service in a preschool, and from nonservice students. The service learning program used the National Helpers Network program model, which stresses the involvement of young adolescents in meaningful work in their community for at least 1 to 2 hours per week, linked with a weekly period of reflection. Of special concern was the caring methodology and how indicators of caring related to specific service learning experiences. Initial findings indicated that scenarios reflecting general moral dilemmas or hypothetical situations resulted in socially desirable responses and that scenarios reflecting actual or typical problems at service learning sites yielded greater variability in response. Pre- and post-program responses to the final service learning scenarios were rated on a 7-point scale for degree of caring, with empathetic communication rated as most caring and violent behavior rated as least caring. Differences were found only in the preschool scenario. Pre- and post-program differences indicated less aggressive responses and less punishment after participating in the service learning and a greater likelihood to invoke communication strategies for handling site-based problem situations. Nonservice students were more likely to use behavioral than communication strategies in handling problems with children. Results support the use of the assessment and suggest that service learning provides opportunities to engage in caring behaviors. (Contains four tables to support completed research.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund, Pleasantville, NY.
Authoring Institution: City Univ. of New York, NY. Center for Advanced Study in Education.