Service-Learning and Social Interventions

University of Zagreb supports innovative pedagogical approach Service-Learning as a way of making universities, students and communities (more) superdiversity ready.

Venue

Social Work Study Centre, Nazorova 51, Zagreb

Date

Start: 28.02.2022
End: 23.05.2022

Partners

Croatian Homeless Network , Growing Up Together , Centre for Parenting Support , Ambidexter Club , Pragma and Center for Education and Counselling

University of Zagreb supports innovative pedagogical approach Service-Learning as a way of making universities, students and communities (more) superdiversity ready. In accordance with advocating for its wider application in different stages of study, the method was piloted with first year undergraduate students of social work, Faculty of Law, in the academic year 2020/21 through the elective course Service-Learning and social interventions. In that pandemic year, the method was implemented in cooperation with four civic partners, and its effectiveness was confirmed in hybrid and full-online form (https://www.bib.irb.hr/1175681); in the academic year 2021/22 the method was carried out face-to-face for the first time - with an even larger number of students, civic partners and service-learning projects. In the academic year 2021/22 total of 33 students were divided into 7 teams, and each team carried out its service-learning project in cooperation with 2 academic mentors and one of 5 civic partners (Croatian Homeless Network, Growing Up Together - Centre for Parenting Support, Ambidexter club, Pragma and Center for education and counselling Sunce). During the semester, through 25 hours work in the community, for the community and with the community, the students had the opportunity to become better acquainted with highly diverse groups of beneficiaries and topics important to them: homeless, elderly, elementary school students, single parents, parents of children with disabilities and adoptive parents. Goals and the final outcomes of their service-learning projects depended on the needs of each civic partner and its group of beneficiaries - informing about the needs of a certain group of users, preparing educational content for web associations accessible to users, designing and implementing workshops, providing learning assistance, and even conducting engaged research to determine conditions and needs of beneficiaries along with the ways of providing support.

In this course, through repeated reflections and critical thinking about each step of the service-learning project, first year undergraduate social work students had the opportunity to connect theory and practice, deepen previously acquired and acquire new knowledge, develop teamwork and problem solving skills, improve communication skills, become more sensitive to differences and in ultimately leave a mark in the lives of the users by getting involved in the community - which demonstrates how service-learning contributes not only to education and research but also to the third mission of the university – engaging with societal needs within its own context. In addition to the students, who expressed high satisfaction with their participation in service-learning projects (https://www.bib.irb.hr/1150705), the civic partners were also satisfied with the reciprocal partnership between the academic and social communities (https://www.eoslhe.eu/service-learning-and-social-interventions-engaging-in-meaningful-activities-with-senior-residents/).

Tags

UNIC Superdiversity Academy | inclusion | Inclusion | Equality | Superdiversity

Themes

Diversity and Inclusion | Social inclusion | Vulnerability | Higher Education

Type of case

Programme | Course

Languages

English | Croatian

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