E. Akgün, G. Karaman, Ç. Dinçer

Ankara University (TURKEY)
Social awareness is forming positive social behavior to understand and develop competencies related to the needs of the other/s. If the basic skill of considering the consequences of one’s actions develops and is supported in the early childhood or adolescence, it is more likely to have individuals with social awareness and responsibility. The “Community Services” course offered at the undergraduate level has a significant role in the acquisition of social awareness. Twenty undergraduate students studying at Ankara University Faculty of Educational Sciences, Preschool Education Program enrolled in the Community Practices course during the 2009-2010 academic year participated in several activities for 8 weeks. They trained children who recovered from leukemia, children in Women’s Shelter Houses suffered from domestic violence, children left to the government institutions to be taken care of and 50 children who could not attend the preschools to support their development of concept formation and social skills. Moreover, women in shelter houses were interacted to help them strengthen their communication with their children and to increase their self-respect. The theoretical part of the lesson was devoted to preparing activities, related materials consulting the course instructors. The activities took place each Friday between 9am and 4 pm at Ankara University Faculty of Educational Sciences Concept Toys Atelier and Library, Women’s Shelter House and SHÇEK (Social Practices and Child Protection Agency) Houses of Love, and LÖSEV (The Foundation for Children with Leukemia) school. The students were evaluated through the dairies they kept. The data collected from these diaries were analyzed through descriptive analysis technique. It is observed that participating students developed an understanding of children under protection along with their needs and pedagogical problems. The reflections of students display their gains such as “We have experienced feelings of both happiness and sadness. We witnessed the commitment problems of children but the look in their eyes inspired us. I believe we did our best but wish we could be together longer” and “Community Services course encouraged me to participate in voluntary work in the later stages of my life as a guiding experience”. It is also reported that children trained benefited a lot from the activities.