Learning to Teach for Social Justice
Learning to Teach for Social Justice: student teachers’ service learning as part of a university-community partnership
The School of Education, NUI Galway recently acknowledged the achievements of student teachers engaged in a Service Learning unit within the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). The event also celebrated the collaborative partnership between the School of Education and two community organisations; the Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) and the Galway Refugee Support Group (GRSG). Service learning is a teaching strategy designed to actively engage students in the learning process in a reflective and critical way, by responding to a need identified by community. This year, fifteen student teachers worked as tutors in the GTM “Pavee Study” Homework Club, as one important element of a university-community partnership.
Initiated in 2006, the project – led by Elaine Keane and Josephine Boland, lecturers in the School of Education – aims to enhance the educational achievement of minority ethnic and other marginalised post-primary school pupils, while simultaneously supporting student teachers in the context of their development as educators committed to a social justice ethos. With the support of seed funding from the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, this evolving partnership now involves a Service Learning unit, support from School of Education staff to the partner organisations in areas such as education for diversity and educational technology, contributions by the community partners to the NUIG teacher education programme and a research dimension. Project partners will be presenting the ‘Learning to Teach for Social Justice’ initiative at the forthcoming Second International Conference on Service learning in Teacher Education (NUI Galway, June, 2009) and at the First International Conference of Campus Engage (Dublin, June, 2009). One of the goals of the project is to explore ways in which this teaching and learning strategy, if embedded in teacher education programmes nationally, can contribute to teacher preparation for an intercultural society.
Participants at the event were welcomed by Dr. Pat Eaton, Head of School of Education, who noted the project’s close alignment with the School’s mission which includes serving as a resource to the wider educational community. The ceremony included presentations by Elaine Keane & Josephine Boland (School of Education), Hannagh McGinley and Breda McDonagh (GTM staff), “Pavee Study” pupils and PGDE students who shared their learning from the experience. Professor Jim Ward, Registrar and Deputy President, NUI Galway presented PGDE students with Certificates of Achievement and acknowledged all those involved in the initiative. The Registrar highlighted the significance of such initiatives for student and staff engagement and for realising NUI Galway’s commitment to civic engagement.
Pictured: NUI Galway Postgraduate Diploma in Education students, members of the Galway Traveller Movement, and Elaine Keane and Dr. Josephine Boland (School of Education, NUI Galway)
For further information contact Elaine Keane email@example.com or Dr. Josephine Boland firstname.lastname@example.org in the School of Education