ERIC Number: ED439883
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Mar-10
Service-Learning in Preservice Special Education: A Comparison of Two Approaches.
A study compared the use of two approaches to service learning in an undergraduate human exceptionalities course. The "Unlimited Choice-group" of 13 students designed and implemented their own service learning project involving persons with disabilities, and the "Limited Choice-group" of 16 students chose between 3 prearranged projects. Quantitative data were obtained from the standard university course evaluation survey. Qualitative data came from student journals and interviews. Results suggest that students benefited from both approaches, but each approach had advantages and disadvantages. The course evaluation survey showed that students in the unlimited choice group responded more positively in the content and citizenship domains than the limited choice group. Class discussions about the service experience were a critical component of service learning--the unlimited choice group commented on their value, and the limited choice group wished there had been more discussion. Students in the limited choice group were able to make more specific connections between course concepts and the service experience, possibly because they served a more diverse population of children with disabilities. Most of the unlimited choice group focused on one individual, which greatly contributed to their satisfaction with the experience. Personal ownership, feelings of acceptance, development of relationships, and recognition of the value of the service all contributed to student satisfaction with the experience. Selection of appropriate service sites also contributed to the quality of the experience. (TD)
Descriptors: Attitudes toward Disabilities, Disabilities, Experiential Learning, Higher Education, Learner Controlled Instruction, Preservice Teacher Education, Program Effectiveness, Service Learning, Special Education, Student Attitudes, Student Experience, Student Surveys, Teacher Education, Undergraduate Study
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Capitalizing on Leadership in Rural Special Education: Making a Difference for Children and Families. Conference Proceedings (Alexandria, VA, March 16-18, 2000); see RC 022 337.