27 SES 14 B, Ethics, Religion and Welfare Education
This paper assesses the results obtained on a research work regarding the impact of a service-learning project addressed to senior citizens and carried out through the 2017/18 course by Music Education undergraduate students at Valladolid University-Segovia’s Education College. Over three months, the mentioned service-learning project has used music as a vehicle for the construction of social and democratic citizenship among students, as well as towards the development, welfare and social and community integration of senior citizens. A mixed methodology has been implemented as far as data collection is concerned, through the following techniques and tools: a questionnaire, participant observation, a class-diary and interviews. The reporting agents in the research were: a group of 30 undergraduate students at Primary Education College, three teachers responsible for the course and the project and 40 residents at Segovia’s “Sisters of the Poor” retirement home. The results of the aforementioned service-learning project show the effectiveness of music as a tool for college students’ ethical, civic and social training. It also highlights the subsequent benefits for the development, welfare and social integration of a vulnerable group such as elderly people.
At universities, and at Schools of Education in particular, service-learning projects have seemingly multiplied in recent years (Anderson, Swick & Yff, 2001; Colby, Bercaw, Clark & Galiardi, 2009; Dolgon, Mitchell and Eatman, 2017; Mpofu, 2007). In such projects, students in their initial training as teachers work jointly with several institutions in order to combine learning with actions meeting community needs. Hence, the students apply the skills and the pedagogical knowledge acquired in the subject area to real-world problems and engage in processes of critical reflection. The service-learning project provides future teachers with worthy opportunities to acquire essential skills, values and competences, such as empathy, tolerance, solidarity, civic responsibility, resilience, reflection and critical thinking, as well as further skills specific to the teaching function (Kelly, Dalton & Miller, 2017) which will overall set the basis to build their teaching identity and social commitment upon.
As far as the specific area of Music Education is concerned, such projects have been carried out by a number of universities worldwide (Barnes, 2002; Feen-Calligan & Matthews, 2016; Reynolds, Jerome, Preston & Haynes, 2005; Burton & Reynolds, 2009; Bartolome, 2013). Therefore, we can currently count on a solid background of research experiences and results to support new proposals.
The present document outlines the results of a service-learning Project addressed to undergraduate Teaching students attending a Music Education program at Valladolid University, Segovia Campus (Spain), which was carried out at a retirement house for elderly people. We believe the service-learning project plays an essential role in the transformation of teachers’ initial training: participants learn to value and to use music as an outstanding resource contributing to the construction of a responsible, participative, supportive and committed citizenship.
1.1. To analyse the students’ opinion about the role of music as a learning resource, in order to build a civic, social citizenship.
1.2. To assess the students’ degree of achievement in social and civic competences through their participation in a service-learning project, developed within the Didactics in Musical Expression course framework.
1.3. To evaluate the improvement in senior citizens’ development and welfare, as well as their social and community integration, through a music-based service-learning project experience.
1.4. To find out the extent of transference generated, from the knowledge acquired in the course to the college students’ personal and professional development.
A blended methodology was applied through the research: qualitative and quantitative. Data were collected through the following techniques and tools: a questionnaire, participant observation, a class diary and interviews. He reporting agents were: a) A group of 30 college students at the School of Primary Education Teaching who, on a weekly basis, posted on an online reflexive diary (Otienoh, 2009; Boenink et al., 2004; Moon, 2010) and, by the end of the term, filled a questionnaire for the joint assessment of both the course and the service-learning project (adapted from Martínez-Vivot, 2012). Such questionnaire included both open and close-ended questions, intended to describe and assess the degree of achievement in disciplinary and socio-civic competences; b) Three teachers responsible for the subject whose participant observation was registered in a field diary (Stake,1995); and c) 40 senior citizens residents in the retirement house, with whom a group, semi-structured interview was conducted. Five categories emerged from the research objectives and the analysis of the obtained information. Additionally, a content analysis (Leech & Onwuegbuzle, 2007) was carried out: Music as tool for the development of a social, democratic citizenship; Students’ acquisition of civic, ethical and social values; contributions to the development, welfare and social integration in the community of senior citizens; and transfer of learning to the students’ personal and professional development as future teachers.
Students show their belief in the value of music as a vehicle for learning in order to stablish a social, democratic citizenship, when featured as the main tool in a learning-service-based Project, since it allows communication and relationship among all participants, regardless of age, gender or religion, as well as the collective, supportive and responsible participation of all contributors, carried out under the principle of equality and integration of all people. By participating in a service-learning project, college students allegedly improve their training in social and civic competences, as featured in Didactics of Musical Expression signature. They engage in a civic commitment by assuming an ethical responsibility towards elderly people and by the acquisition of social and democratic values such as the recognition of senior citizens’ dignity, an intergenerational exchange of experiences, respect, listening, empathy and the altruistic service for the personal and social integration of those elders socially neglected. Likewise, the service-learning project experience has contributed to the development and welfare of the senior participants (improvements in auditory memory, attention, sensory-motor coordination, self-concept, positive self-confidence and own dignity awareness in an enjoyable and uninhibited atmosphere), as well as to the social integration of this collective in the community (based on generational exchange, respect and teamwork carried out among the elderly persons). Finally, there was a transfer of the learning acquired during the course to the college students’ professional and personal development (increasing reflection ability and self-critical thinking, resilience and patience), since every goal listed in the course Teaching guide has been achieved to a large extent. Such goals referred to design tasks, planning and assessment of socio-educational projects where music has been a vehicle for the learning of civic and social competences, within a service-learning project framework.
Anderson, J., Swick, K., & Yff, J. (Eds.). (2001). Service-learning in teacher education: Enhancing the growth of new teachers, their students, and communities. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Barnes, G. V. (2002). Opportunities in service learning. Music Educators Journal, 88(4), 42–46. Bartolome, S. (2013). Growing Through Service. Exploring the Impact of a Service-Learning Experience on Preservice Educators. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 23(1), 79-91. Boenink, A. D., Oderwald, A. K., De Jonge, P., Van Tilburg, W., y Smal, J. A. (2004). Assessing student reflection in medical practice. The development of an observer-rated instrument: Reliability, validity and initial experiences. Medical Education, 38(4), 368-377. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2004.01787.x Burton, S., Reynolds, A. (2009). Transforming teacher education through service-learning. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 18(2), 18-33. Colby, S., Bercaw, L., Clark, A.M., & Galiardi, S. (2009). From Community Service to Service-Learning Leadership: A Program Perspective. New Horizons in Education, 57(3), 20-31. Dolgon, C., Mitchell, T., & Eatman, T. (Eds.) (2017). The Cambridge Handbook of Service Learning and Community Engagement (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316650011 Feen-Calligan, H. & Matthews, W. K. (2016). Pre-professional arts based service-learning in music education and art therapy. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(17). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v17n17/. Kelly, J., Dalton, C. & Miller, D. The Impact of Service Learning Project Involving Pre-Service Teachers Working with Incarcerated Youth. In H. Evans (Ed.), Community Engagement Findings Across the Disciplines: Applying Course. London: Rowman & Littlefield. Leech, N. L., y Onwuegbuzie, A., J. (2007). An Array of Qualitative Data Analysis Tools: A Call for Data Analysis Triangulation. School Psychology Quarterly, 22(4), 557-584. Martínez-Vivot, M. (2012). El Aprendizaje- Servicio en la Educación Superior. UP: Argentina. Moon, J. (2010). Learning journals and logs, reflective diaries. Good practices in teaching and learning. Dublin: University College Dublin. Mpofu, E. (2007). Service-Learning Effects on the Academic Learning of Rehabilitation Services Students. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 14(1), 46-52. Otienoh, R. O. (2009). Reflective practice: The challenge of journal writing. Reflective Practice, 10(4), 477-489. doi: 10.1080/14623940903138332 Reynolds, A. M., Jerome, A., Preston, A. L., Haynes, H. (2005). Service-learning in music education: Participants’ reflections. Bulletin of the Council of Research for Music Education, 165, 79–85. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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