||Presenters will describe their experiences and research with an exciting new education course entitled Educational Leadership within a Service Learning Framework. This course is compulsory for all 2nd year students enrolled in the 5 Year Integrated Education Program at the University of Winnipeg. The general goal in this course is for students to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that will encourage opportunities for transformative learning to occur. We believe that this transition from "I" to "WE" can help prepare students for future endeavours as teachers, community members, and responsible citizens. Service Learning - first we serve, then we lead.
Students have 5 weeks of classes focused on the themes: The Importance of Community Service; Cultural Connections; Challenges for Newcomers to Winnipeg and Immigrants; and The Disenfranchised Poor. As the students hear presentations on these themes, they are encouraged to reflect and internalize the social issues.
In the following 7 weeks, students do 40 hours of community service where they mentor, tutor and teach with one of our partner agencies. While they are out in field, they reflect through directed responses via WebCT. Our partners have included Adult Education Centre, Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, Bright Futures Program, Computer Lending Library of the International Centre, Frontier College, Global Welcome Centre, Gordon Bell High School (EAL Family English Program), Immigrant and Refugee Communities of Manitoba, Jameswood Alternative School, Rossbrook House, Special Link (National Centre for Child Care Inclusion), and Winnipeg Harvest.
Students seem to be thriving. In general, student reflections indicate a very positive and enriching experience. Many students have indicated new awareness, eye-opening or career forming experiences with their organizations. Students have reported growth in: teaching, mentoring, and tutoring skills; social awareness and empathy; classroom or group management skills, and communication skills.
We believe that students have grown with the experience, will be more empathetic and socially aware, and will carry that forward into their teaching careers.