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ERIC Number: EJ1120609
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2325-663X
"Out of My Comfort Zone": Understanding the Impact of a Service-Learning Experience in Rural El Salvador
Beckman, Paula J.; Christenson, Lea Ann
Global Education Review, v3 n4 p146-168 2016
This qualitative case study was designed to explore student's perceptions of the impact of a two-week service-learning experience in rural El Salvador. Students stayed in an economically impoverished village in rural El Salvador and worked on projects that promoted education for children in the village. Participants included 15 graduate and undergraduate students. Multiple data sources were used to understand these impacts including: open-ended interviews conducted two to four months after the trip; field notes from participant observations in large and small group activities, group reflections; and informal incidents and conversations; review of student journals; student final papers, and daily activity and health logs. While the initial process of adjustment was difficult for some students, all students felt that this experience had an important, positive impact on them. Data indicated that this impact occurred in all three major areas addressed in this study, including: personal (e.g., sense of appreciation, gaining perspective, rethinking consumption, clarifying values, and learning they "could do it"/self-efficacy), professional (affirming career choices, ability to work with Latino children and families; improving professional skills), and global awareness (e.g., perspectives on poverty and social justice, views of immigration, understanding of the world). The data further indicated a more explicit impact on personal, professional and global awareness of participants who identified themselves as future teachers, thus with a potential positive influence on future children under their care, particularly children who are poor and/or immigrants. Findings are discussed in terms of extant literature related to the impact of short-term service experiences.
Mercy College New York. 555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522. Tel: 914-674-7350; Fax: 914-674-7351; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: El Salvador
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A