Service-Learning Project with Disability Studies

Positive Approaches to Disability Through Service-Learning is a Round 2 Educational Innovation Grant funded project led by Dr Michelle Bonati and implemented through a partnership between the Faculty of Education and Social Work and the Centre for Disability Studies Inclusive Education Program (IEP). It gave Bachelor of Education students the option of completing their EDUF3031 fieldwork experience by developing a service-learning project in small groups in collaboration with students in the IEP.

The IEP provides adults with an intellectual disability an opportunity to participate in The University of Sydney by auditing courses. Service-learning is a transformative pedagogy in which students engage in service activities that are linked to their learning outcomes through reflection, which has been implemented in teacher preparation programs to develop pre-service teachers’ knowledge of disability and improve attitudes toward inclusion.

Each group of students developed a service-learning project that addressed learning outcomes; for example, a student from the IEP participating in EDEC 1001 Early Childhood Settings and Communities collaborated with her group to create a resource book for teaching arts and crafts to preschool children using photo-supported directions. Another group created a website on healthy lifestyles for children. A student from the IEP who was auditing EDHP1001 Physical Education demonstrated one of the lessons at a local YMCA. Nine participating groups from Semester 1 created reflection videos to share at a celebration event demonstrating their new knowledge related to their respective courses.

Michelle Bonati, Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Social Work

Friederike Gadow, Research Fellow, PhD Candidate, Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney Medical School 

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