The development of socially responsible life-sciences teachers through community service learning.

  • J.J. Rian de Villiers
Keywords: Biologie, studente, sosiaal-aanspreeklik, diensleer, gemeeskapsvennote

Abstract

In South Africa, polices in higher education are urging tertiary institutions to produce graduates who are socially responsible citizens. One method of achieving this is through service-learning initiatives. Zoos as community partners can provide exciting educational opportunities for students to do animal behaviour studies and to develop their social responsibility. A sample of 58 preservice life-sciences teachers from a South African university completed a questionnaire on their animal behaviour studies. This study sought to determine how animal behaviour studies could successfully be incorporated as a community service-learning project in a zoo setting, what the educational value of these studies was and what the benefits were of incorporating this community service-learning component in the life-sciences course. The incorporation of the service-learning component into the zoology course led to the students´┐Ż personal and professional development, knowledge about themselves, sensitivity to cultural diversity, civic responsibility and insights into the ways in which communities operate. For a successful service-learning project, lectures, students and community partners should all have a sense of engagement. A number of suggestions are made to improve the incorporation of this service-learning component into the existing zoology course.

Author Biography

J.J. Rian de Villiers
Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Published
2012-10-08
Section
Original Research: Social Responsibility and Education