Building Upon Service-Learning in Higher Education: Lessons Learned and Future Recommendations
Keywords:Service-Learning, Student development, Disability, Family support, COVID-19, Social sustainability
Service-learning is an educational approach that has been proven to cultivate public conscience by combining the learning objectives of curriculum content with student involvement in community service. The current study explores the various impacts of a service-learning project directed toward psychology students tutoring children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results are taken from the perspective of 114 Kosovar students and 20 parents of children with disabilities involved in the project. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the challenges that families of children with disabilities already faced. The tutoring sessions had a positive effect on family well-being and children’s academic achievements. The students reported improved attitudes toward children with disabilities and increased self-efficacy and motivation for community engagement. Service-learning is promoted as a teaching method that attends to societal needs, helps students reflect on their experiences and competency, facilitates a better understanding of the consequences of public policy, and contributes to responsible citizens and compassionate professionals. This study adds to the literature by highlighting the substantial results and potential benefits of service-learning and individualized support for children with disabilities and their parents by discussing the implications for practice and future research.
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