Service Learning Dr. Edwin van Teijlingen
Critical thinking Often ‘teaching’ critical thinking to (health) care students is much more challenging than teaching your students more factual information, e.g. about social class, health inequality, the medical/social model or doctor-patient communication.
Service Learning Spent six-weeks exchange in USA, and came across the concept of Service-Learning at Kalamazoo College, a liberal art college in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
K-College definition I • … form of experiential education that explicitly integrates academic study and community service … • connects theory with practice, and builds communities of learners, … collaboration between campus and community partners. • It requires of students both critical analysis and purposeful reflection on structure & meaning of the experience. .. http://www.kzoo.edu/servicelearning/mission.htm
K-College definition I • Faculty and their community counterparts design activities to meet learning goals …as well as the objectives of community partner. • Most often, the service relates conceptually to the content of an academic course and is closely guided by a faculty member who introduces a strong analytic, discipline- or theory-oriented component into the service activities.
Definition Cummings (2000: 97) summarised the literature on the ideals and practice of service-learning: • education must center on society’s most pressing problems, particularly the reconstruction of democratic community, that it engage students in community service and prepare them for lifelong commitment to civic involvement and social reconstruction, and that it embody the same principles of democratic participation, reflection, and experimentalism that are to be encouraged in the wider community.
Three key issues • Democratic participation; • Reflection; • Experimentalism
What do we do? • Service Learning made me wonder about what we do as a university to nurture these three concepts.
Family visits Phase I MBChB • We send medical students into the community in the Community Course. Pairs of first-years conduct a home visit to a mother with a new baby. This visit is students’ very first ‘real patient’ contact. Students generally do some role-play before hand and practice possible questions, e.g. the baby’s health, breast feeding, reactions of older children to a new sibling, type/amount of support the mother receives, changing role in life, etc. • Although this is not as intensive and in-depth as many of the Service-Learning projects, it gives students an insight into real life situations.
Community Health Attachment HE3508 • Students on the B.Sc. Health Sciences have a Community Health Attachment (a placement); • In this module they apply their knowledge gained and critical skills nurtured in other modules (e.g. Sociology of Health & Illness; Epidemiology; Psychology; Biology; etc.) to a ‘real-life’ health care organisation.