Enriching Teaching and Learning in a Teacher Education Course through a Field Experience Choice Assignment in Service-Learning
Nancy McBride Arrington

With a purpose of enriching teaching and learning in her classroom, an early childhood education professor implements a service learning option into an introductory curriculum course with 25 students (preservice teachers) enrolled. The study, using both qualitative and quantitative means, measures the attainment of course objectives in students; and compares their ratings statements and coded narrative reflections. Results indicate that the eight students engaged in service learning in their field experience did as well as the 17 students not engaged in service learning on their pre- and post-test analysis, and in their final grades. The student reflections revealed that students participating in service-learning experienced richer learning experiences than those participating in the traditional assignment. Additionally, the service-learning participants indicate a greater sense of civic responsibility, and ability to lead their P-5 students to a greater awareness of their civic responsibility. Recommendations include implementing service-learning with all preservice teachers enrolled in this course, developing appropriate strategies for assessment of effects of service-learning, and conducting further studies on servicelearning in teacher education programs.

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