Service-Learning: A Vehicle for Inquiry Teaching and Learning
A service learning model was used in a science methods course for elementary teachers as the context for integrating key pedagogical strategies necessary to attain current national and state standards. This innovation provided a real-world problem-solving experience and introduced learners to service-learning through personally relevant environmental issues. Designed as an inquiry, this experiential course, engaged learners in “doing science” and constructing knowledge of science, technology, and societal interaction content on a need to know basis. The intervention taught future teachers to engage their communities in addressing local issues. It also mitigated preservice teachers’ science anxiety and enabled preservice teachers to understand and appreciate current national and state standards. Included are the methods course structure, the model used for service-learning, an extensive scenario illustrating classroom interactive inquiry strategies, and excerpts from students’ journals revealing attitudinal changes during the course.
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