Educational Inclusive Experiences as a pedagogical proposal – ARGENTINA

Juan Cruz Hermida

Director of Social Commitment and Extension of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

The institutional project of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina states that “the University wants to develop through its activities a full humanism, which renews our faith in the integration of the person, the university community, institutions, society and knowledge, to transcend fragmentary visions[1]“. In the search to provide an integral humanist and Christian formation in university students, the Directorate of Social Commitment and Extension has as its main objective to accompany teaching through the implementation of Experiencias Formativas Inclusivas (EFI – Educational Inclusive Experiences) that develop the pedagogical proposal of service-learning.

It should be noted that the Directorate is within the scope of the Vice-Rectorate for Integration with the purpose that the educational proposal that is taught in the different courses promotes the articulation of teaching, research and the link with the community in the same educational project that allows strengthening the knowledge, know-how and knowing-to be of the university students. The teachers in charge of the courses must plan them incorporating the three concepts:

  1. Know: during the course, knowledge and concepts related to the subject taught are acquired.
  2. Know-how: specific competences, skills and abilities are developed in the students, by putting into practice the knowledge they received either when developing a product, providing a service or carrying out a specific study based on what was stated by a community partner.
  3. Knowing how to be: it seeks to develop in students’ attitudes and values such as honesty, tolerance, empathy and responsibility for making their own decisions. By linking and relating to the community partner, in this process of exchange and listening it is sought that they live the culture of encounter.

The implementation of the EFI in subjects of the different degrees through the service-learning methodology, allows our students to relate to the world around them and requires university knowledge. Through this encounter, they carry out an experience of service to vulnerable brothers. At the same time that teachers and students develop the project, they gain knowledge, abilities and skills that our brothers offer them.

It seeks to provide a real vision of holistic education for our university students since the teaching and learning experiences from social problems contribute to generating a solid personal, professional and academic training and, to a better understanding of reality, but above all, to learn from it. This path has been travelled through the development of pedagogical proposals of service-learning, with the purpose that university students are formed integrally in experiences that are located outside a traditional academic environment, exclusively within the classroom.

The teaching-learning process carried out allows students to interact with reality in an experiential way and face problems and challenges of today’s world, enhancing the development of human competencies and skills such as empathy, problem-solving, civic responsibility, teamwork, critical thinking and a culture of encounter. This makes it possible to change the perception of a university that looks inward as if it were an ivory tower that lives with its back to society to a Catholic Church university that is on its way out, that believes and promotes encounter and dialogue by laying paths that promote the union of a very fragmented society. In line with this proposal, Pope Francisco[2] invites universities to “teach to think what is felt and done; to feel what is thought and done; to do what you think and feel. A dynamism of capacities at the service of the person and society”.

Service-learning as a pedagogical practice is in line with the encyclical Fratelli Tutti in which the global community, regardless of its religious beliefs, is invited to improve global cooperation, human fraternity and universal solidarity. The educational system, whatever its level, has to reflect this need to build with others and not at the expense of others, we need to learn to include ourselves as brothers and sisters of the same society.

During the current academic year 2022, educational inclusive experiences are implemented in 81 curricular spaces belonging to 42 degrees that are taught in our 4 campuses: Mendoza, Paraná, Rosario and Buenos Aires.

At the end of each semester, the learning process is evaluated, incorporating the insight of the student, teacher and the organization with whom the project was developed. We share some reflections from the three actors involved.

The interdisciplinary work was the most positive since the opportunity was given to meet and work with people from other degrees, and take out the strengths of each one and put them to work together with the one from others.” University student.

“It is a very valuable opportunity to be able to apply the knowledge of the subject generating a real impact.” University student.

There was a positive impact on the recipients of the organization, providing it with collaborative documents and guides related to the protection of fundamental rights of constitutional rank in situations of breach by public bodies or individuals,” Teacher.

The project developed reflects an authentic response to our institutional needs“, a reference from the institution with which the project was co-managed.

The university aims to train graduates as “expertos en humanidad” (experts in humanity). For this, we know that we must provide the best curricular content so that they acquire the necessary knowledge to be good professionals, but this is not enough, we must also generate the best pedagogical proposals so that university students are not only good professionals but good people.

[1] https://wadmin.uca.edu.ar/public/ckeditor/Facultad%20de%20Psicolog%C3%ADa%20y%20Psicopedagog%C3%ADa/Nuestra%20Facultad/UCA-Proyecto-Institucional-2018-2022.pdf

[2] Francis (2018), Address at the Pontifical Catholic University of Santiago de Chile. Available in: https://www.vaticannews.va/es/papa/news/2018-01/papa-francisco-viaje-apostolic-chile-encuentrouniversidad.

Educational Inclusive Experiences as a pedagogical proposal
Educational Inclusive Experiences as a pedagogical proposal
Educational Inclusive Experiences as a pedagogical proposal
Educational Inclusive Experiences as a pedagogical proposal
Educational Inclusive Experiences as a pedagogical proposal

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