University - Community -Service Partnership Impact on B.Ed. Students’ Teaching Competencies
The objectives of this study were two-fold: first, to explore the impact of a community service-learning on pre-service teachers’ personal, academic, and professional development. Secondly, to examine the potential of service-learning as a pedagogy for equipping pre-service teachers enrolled in educational courses in the Bachelor of Education program. The study involved students enrolled in health education class. Data sources included: (a) individual reflective journal, (b) evaluative questionnaire, and (c) focus group interview. The results showed that a Community-University partnership service-learning experience increased pre-service teachers’ understanding of subject matter content, had a considerable improvement in their professional skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, and ability to effectively apply academic course content. The conclusion from this study showed a community –university partnership Service Learning can be a very rewarding, fun and engaging experience. It offers a valuable opportunity for faculty to plan application of theory outside their traditional classroom environment. It also enhances community-university partnerships to address issues of mutual concern, such as the health and wellness of the population. In today’s world, teacher educators should strive to try new pedagogies that link course learning activities with a full range of learning experiences available in our communities. It is a way of building a responsible citizenship among pre-service teachers and enhancing sustainable development.