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OBJECTIVE FABRICATIONS: A FRAMEWORK FOR CONTEMPORARY SERVICE LEARNING

V. Hui, J. So, J. Ramelson

Ryerson University (CANADA)
Among the litany of problems contemporary educators decry are that current students have problems with learning priorities and lack a genuine sense of contributing to a larger global community. That students focus upon learning concepts rather than the ability to transition to real-world application is a significant hurdle educators in all disciplines face. Similarly, students appear to be concerned with their own academic performance than the role their applied knowledge may play in a greater social perspective. The pedagogical benefits of service learning appear to encourage a model many educators have deferred to; however there is a level of ambiguity in determining whether such procedures are successful. As post-secondary educators continue to provide a wider spectrum of learning modes, and an exceptional propensity for service learning initiatives, it is incumbent upon them to contextualize these models as a response to the pedagogical challenges they face. This paper outlines five significant determinants for a successful service learning initiative including: application of knowledge, promotion of innovation, contribution to social benefit, accountability of work, and awareness of real-world constraints.

These concepts are presented within the framework of a unique service learning opportunity within an architectural science program in Toronto, Canada. This initiative demonstrates that current students, drawn from undergraduates in the program, not only have the ability to apply classroom knowledge to real-world conditions, but that they also understand that their knowledge may contribute to a larger social context. Alongside the five service learning criteria outlined in this paper, the authors present two notable secondary benefits of adopting such a model: the encouragement to complete and properly execute projects, and the sense of pride in accomplishment upon completion.