Event Title

Service Learning as a Reciprocity Project: Providing Cultural Experience to Study Abroad Students with Low Language Proficiency

Start Date

10-8-2010 3:30 PM

End Date

10-8-2010 5:00 PM

Description

The task of providing meaningful field experiences in the host culture to students with low language proficiency is a challenging one. In the frame of a semester abroad program, education managers face two main obstacles: the short length of the programs to make service learning meaningful for the student as well as for the community, and the language barrier which limits students’ ability to interact with host nationals and/or carry out adequately many required tasks in any working situation. Nevertheless, these students are most needed of opportunities to practice the language and explore the culture in order to meet the objectives of any language immersion program abroad.

Building a community service learning component into the language class is an attempt to meet students’ needs by providing, from early on the program: a) the necessary language tools to interact with people in the work context and perform work duties; b) a field based learning structure that sets forth academic objectives, procedures and expected outcomes; and c) a network of organizations willing to accept students with low language proficiency and able to accommodate their knowledge and skills to perform tasks needed for the benefit of the people they serve (reciprocity)

The purpose of this presentation or panel discussion is to offer a framework for a “community service learning course”.. Such component enriches language content and cultural dimension and initiates students in field work in a foreign language. It also actively engages participants on reflection upon the host society’s challenges and needs, while doing a positive contribution to the local community.

The presentation will focus on:

• Examining the concept of “service learning” in the context of a host culture and limited language proficiency of students: Constraints and opportunities for both parties.

• Assessing the educational values of community service learning to develop the socio cultural dimension of language learning , and to facilitate students’ immersion in the host society and learning from the field.

• Elaborating on the necessary tools to improve students’ language and cultural skills to be able to perform adequately in a work context and carry out academic field work.

• Examining challenges and procedures to develop a network of local organizations that could sustain a stable structure of service learning within a given program and to whom the program provides effective contribution.

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Aug 10th, 3:30 PM Aug 10th, 5:00 PM

Service Learning as a Reciprocity Project: Providing Cultural Experience to Study Abroad Students with Low Language Proficiency

The task of providing meaningful field experiences in the host culture to students with low language proficiency is a challenging one. In the frame of a semester abroad program, education managers face two main obstacles: the short length of the programs to make service learning meaningful for the student as well as for the community, and the language barrier which limits students’ ability to interact with host nationals and/or carry out adequately many required tasks in any working situation. Nevertheless, these students are most needed of opportunities to practice the language and explore the culture in order to meet the objectives of any language immersion program abroad.

Building a community service learning component into the language class is an attempt to meet students’ needs by providing, from early on the program: a) the necessary language tools to interact with people in the work context and perform work duties; b) a field based learning structure that sets forth academic objectives, procedures and expected outcomes; and c) a network of organizations willing to accept students with low language proficiency and able to accommodate their knowledge and skills to perform tasks needed for the benefit of the people they serve (reciprocity)

The purpose of this presentation or panel discussion is to offer a framework for a “community service learning course”.. Such component enriches language content and cultural dimension and initiates students in field work in a foreign language. It also actively engages participants on reflection upon the host society’s challenges and needs, while doing a positive contribution to the local community.

The presentation will focus on:

• Examining the concept of “service learning” in the context of a host culture and limited language proficiency of students: Constraints and opportunities for both parties.

• Assessing the educational values of community service learning to develop the socio cultural dimension of language learning , and to facilitate students’ immersion in the host society and learning from the field.

• Elaborating on the necessary tools to improve students’ language and cultural skills to be able to perform adequately in a work context and carry out academic field work.

• Examining challenges and procedures to develop a network of local organizations that could sustain a stable structure of service learning within a given program and to whom the program provides effective contribution.