First steps to developing service learning initiatives using emancipatory action research

O'Shea, Eidin (2013) First steps to developing service learning initiatives using emancipatory action research. Australasian Journal of University Community Engagement, 8 (1). pp. 25-49.


Academic institutions are increasingly required to develop new pedagogies which leverage active and experiential learning from within the curriculum. Service learning is a well-established concept which can enhance student learning through collaboration with profit and non-profit making organisations. However, as is widely recognised in the literature engaging students in meaningful service learning and binding them in innovative community-university relationships can be very challenging and there is little focus on the perceptions and expectations of the external partners.

This paper draws extensively on a first step experiences of a group of academics and students (from the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick in Ireland), community based practitioners, service providers and individuals who embarked on a collaborative service learning projects over a number of years (2007-2012). The aim of the project was to catalogue the experiences of Irish Travellers, people with experience of the asylum process and migrants in respect to public services and discrimination. This project undertook a creative form of 'co-operative enquiry' or 'emancipatory action research' which required that the students work as co-researchers with their community counterparts, jointly designing the project, generating ideas, interviewing the subjects, reflecting on the outcomes and suggesting potential policy changes. The pedagogical framework derived from this project is discussed as a potential means for successful 'whole of university approach' for service learning as it fostered inclusivity, enabled active learning and resulted in mutually beneficial outcomes for the community participants and academic learners.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 Engagement Australia. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2013 03:01
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2015 04:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: service learning; active learning; emancipatory actions research; symbiotic relationships
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160512 Social Policy
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440712 Social policy
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390102 Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
39 EDUCATION > 3999 Other Education > 399999 Other education not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society

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