Instructors (from left to right): Laura Stetler, Jamia Stokes, Dulcie Peccolo, Lisa Emery, Jennifer Martin
Authored by Dr. Lisa Fall, Associate Professor of Advertising and Public Relations and Noah Mayhew, Senior in Public Relations
Service learning is about learning while providing service to community partners. Infuse this way of teaching and learning to an introductory education course –and you have the perfect formula for future teachers who will educate our youth.
“We believe Education 100 provides students exploring careers in the field of education with meaningful opportunities to work with youth. Through their service learning projects, students gain experience learning how to develop and implement learning activities to meet the needs of children at their placement sites. We have designed the class to provide students with opportunities to reflect on their commitment to teaching, and to deepen their understanding of social justice issues facing today’s teachers,” explained Dr. Dulcie Peccolo, Director of Student Services for the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. She is one of the professors who teaches this course and was also instrumental in designing the curriculum.
“It is our hope that students taking this class will increase their understanding of the needs and perspectives of marginalized groups of students and their families. By increasing students’ competence and confidence in designing, implementing, and assessing their service learning projects we hope they will have a better understanding of the challenges they will face as future teachers,” she further explained. In addition to learning while doing and providing service to the communities in which they live, courses such as Education 100 allow students some time for meaningful reflection so they can apply some personal thoughtfulness to activities in which they engage.
“We also believe our students’ academic experiences can be enhanced by having the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge through meaningful service to public school youth. We have designed this class to provide students with opportunities for self-reflection. Additionally, we hope students are able to explore their own views and beliefs about challenging issues facing teachers in today’s classrooms. We want them to be able to support and articulate their views by engaging in service learning experiences that provide them actual real-life experiences with public school children,” Dr. Peccolo said.
And, as the old adage goes, it’s a “win-win” situation for everyone.
“Our students have shared with us that the experiences they have gained in this class have helped them gain a better understanding of the challenges facing today’s teachers and further affirmed their decision to pursue teacher licensure programs at UT,” Dr. Peccolo added. “It has been gratifying to hear the feelings they have experienced when they have had a positive impact on the learning of children through their service learning projects.”