The reason for this project was a study on service-learning experiences carried out at the Complutense University of Madrid. In this study it was found that the use of this methodology was very limited (See https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120200000021007).
The objective of this project is to promote participatory values and civic-social skills in the students of the Theory of Education course taught in the Teacher Training Degrees of Early Childhood Education and Primary Education, Social Education and Pedagogy of the Faculty of Education of the Complutense University of Madrid, through the implementation and pedagogical management of a playful space aimed at children in vulnerable situations. In this way, it stimulates the social responsibility of the university and the ethical sense of future professional practice. An association working with children at risk of social exclusion was chosen as a partner.
Fortnightly seminars were organized in the Faculty of Education with the students participating in this project. These seminars were part of the monitoring and evaluation of the Learning-Service methodology and, at the same time, they aimed at promoting reflection processes to assess the adequacy of the actions to the needs and expectations of the minors, difficulties in the execution of the experience, reformulation of the project, etc. Among the main conclusions reached in these seminars are the following:
- It has been possible to develop a sense of civic commitment with the entity and with the minors, it has been verified how the involvement of the students has been progressing and developing an internalized process of service-learning. This feeling, expressed by the students, of civic commitment and involvement, has been materialized in the decision of most of the group of students to continue collaborating with the entity, participating in activities and in the camp that the association organizes in summer.
- The students have valued very positively the participation in the project, they have recognized that they have developed competences for teaching, they have reinforced knowledge that they have already seen in class and they have also acquired procedural and attitudinal competences. In short, the project has met their expectations, has allowed them to develop a civic commitment and have developed skills for educational practice and personal development.
This teaching innovation project developed over three academic years has also allowed the design and validation of an evaluation questionnaire of the ApS methodology. For more details of this questionnaire see: https://doi.org/10.15581/004.39.247-266