Enhancing the study of art and community through service-learning

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Journal article

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New Horizons in Education

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Xianggang Jiaoshihui,Hong Kong Teacher's Association


SLRS (Service-Learning Research Scheme), art, community


Background: In his discussion of higher education, Fred Newman (1985) explained that university graduates should “have a profound understanding of what it means to be a citizen”, and be “capable of an interest larger than self-interest” (p. xiv). “Art and Well Being”, an elective course offered by the Department of Visual Studies at Lingnan, studies the impact of art on the well- being of individuals and communities alike. Many of the theories and hypotheses taught in class are not only applicable in real-world situations, but also can only be envisaged by allowing students to engage in genuine creativities. A Service-learning Research Scheme (SLRS) is integrated into the course to enhance students’ study of art and community. Aims: To explore the impact of a specially structured SLRS integrated into a university elective course called “Art and Well Being”. Sample: Nine students enrolled in the scheme to serve two specific target groups of people with special needs in expression and communication. Trained and guided by professional artists, the students designed and conducted a series of creative workshops to meet the needs of their service clients. Method: Because the scheme only involved nine students, the evaluation focused on qualitative measures, including students’ selfreflection from their presentations and reflective essay combined with feedback from the artists and organizations involved, and raw data from the pre- and post- questionnaires designed by the Office of service-learning. Results: Service-learning is an essential component of the course “Art and Well Being” with both teaching and learning benefits. Conclusion: A well-structured SLRS could provide “transformative learning experiences” to the students involved by making the knowledge that they have learned in class relevant to their lives.

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Recommended Citation

Law, S. M. S. (2012). Enhancing the study of art and community through service-learning. New Horizons in Education, 60(2), 64-75.