Service-learning as a transformative pedagogy within university education is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Advocates of service-learning indicate that the practice of combining community based voluntary work with theoretical in-class academic knowledge leads to a greater awareness about diversity and difference in students. While such claims are enticing, particularly in pre-service teacher education where there is a need for teachers to understand and embrace diversity, it is important to determine the veracity of such claims. The current study used a repeated measures design to explore whether engaging in service-learning as part of an inclusive education unit resulted in changes in pre-service teachers’ willingness to support diverse students and their sense of confidence and preparedness when teaching such students. Results revealed that fourth year pre-service teachers self-reported significantly higher levels of willingness to include diversity, confidence to support diversity, and preparedness to teach diverse students after service-learning than before. These results indicate that undertaking a service learning experience as part of an inclusive education unit in a teacher education degree may result in positive changes in students that support an inclusive approach to education.
Carrington, S. B.,
Kimber, M. P.,
& Bland, D.
Exploring the Value of Service-learning on Pre-service Teachers.
Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(6).