THE STUDY OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ACADEMIC SERVICE-LEARNING AND LEARNING STYLES
St. John's University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Since the days of Thomas Jefferson, theorists and educational scholars maintain that the purpose of education remains constant. The goal of education is for the good of society. It is to develop young males and females into productive citizens who will be able to care for themselves and those that follow after them. It is the schools’ responsibility to promote the goals and needs of society. Lawrence Cremin in Teaching and Schooling in America believes “the aim of education is not merely to make citizens, or workers, or fathers, or mothers, but ultimately to make human beings who will live life to the fullest.
The overall goal of colleges and their faculties is to educate students. Two reasons for students’ inability to succeed academically may be their lack of awareness of how each actually concentrates, absorbs, internalizes, and retains new and complex information. Another might be their professors’ inability to teach with instructional strategies that complement how each student can best master required curriculum.
Throughout history the way students have been educated has gone from the traditional lecture style to experiential learning offering students alternative ways of mastering the subject matter, encouraging them to become pro-active problem solvers rather than problem study-ers. Comparing students of today, whom we call the millennial to the Generation X era it is evident that educators must look at teaching and learning in a different context. The millennial students are team players who seek individual recognition and who need to be engaged in the learning process. Utilization of a student’s learning styles, which is how a person learns new and difficult information through their preferred strengths; along with academic service-learning being a pedagogical approach involving students in a community partnership while fulfilling their academic requirements are a means by which to accomplish this goal.
This paper will discuss how freshmen in a core college class studied the urban development within neighborhoods of New York, noting its ethnic diversity, immigrant contributions to the neighborhood, as well as the history of the neighborhood demonstrating how the buildings reflect on the cultural, economic, and political lives of the inhabitants. Through the use of an academic service-learning project while taking into consideration their learning styles, college students partnered with local elementary schools, which together created photo journals outlining the area’s urban development. The utilization of the student’s learning styles along with academic service-learning proved beneficial to both the college students and the elementary school students. It produced a deeper understanding of the subject matter as well as a profound need for further research into the topics of history within the great metropolis of New York , immigration as it relates to the immigrant's background and their input into the community, cultural differences and how each group can work in a cohesive environment, and the politics that surround not only the city but the world.
Keywords: Academic Service-Learning and Learning Styles.