About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6161-6167
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1434

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain


L. Mortari, R. Silva, C. Girelli

University of Verona (ITALY)
Community service learning (CSL) is an educational approach that integrates community service and intentional learning activities, thereby linking professional action and training. Coordinated by an educational institution or university, this approach leads students to learn through active participation in service action aimed to meet the needs of a community. In the international scene, there are many CSL experiences within training for future teachers, and from the analysis of such experiences, CSL emerges as a particularly effective way to help construct a teaching profession capable of addressing not only the real problems of a school, but also the context in which the school is located.

Applied to the pre-service training of teachers, CSL sets up a service action that connects future teachers with in-service teachers.

This enables future teachers:
(a) to strengthen their training curriculum through an experiential path,
(b) to develop a sense of civic responsibility towards their community and
(c) to encourage the reflective sharing of their experiences.

CSL strengthens future teachers’ training curriculum because it allows them to get in touch with the daily reality of the school and the community of teachers from the perspective of apprenticeship, drawing on the wealth of wisdom and expertise that have accumulated as well as the needs that teachers and children express. Indeed, European institutions affirm that dialogue and collaboration between schools and universities are essential to effective pre-service teacher training (European Commission, 2014).

Moreover, CSL helps future teachers to understand what it means to be able to act in a service-oriented manner, starting from the needs of the context. Indeed, service actions in CSL are not just connections between two parties (the future teacher and the in-service teacher), but always a relationship that involves the whole community that welcomes the student responsible for it. Future teachers are primed to act to support their context, and because the link between it and future teachers is temporally extended and characterised by constant comparison, it allows a real, transforming action in the environment that welcomes them, resulting in a doubly positive impact.

Finally, CSL promotes in future teachers a reflective attitude because it leads students to discover that facing the real problems that characterise real educational contexts means being able to analyse their practical experience to evaluate theories of education rooted in experience, which are meaningful frameworks for practice.

Within its five-year Master's Degree in Primary Teacher Education, the University of Verona started a CSL experience that involves senior students, in-service teachers in different schools and an academic team that assumes the role of supervisor.

Future students define:
(i) in cooperation with in-service teachers the needs of the contexts,
(ii) in cooperation with the academic team the educative goals that they must reach and
(iii) in cooperation with in-service teachers and the academic team the project aimed to suit the context’s needs and reach the student’s educative goals.

At the end, every student realises a detailed record of every phase of the CSL and a dissertation that critically analyses service actions.
author = {Mortari, L. and Silva, R. and Girelli, C.},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.1434},
url = {https://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.1434},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6161-6167}}
AU - L. Mortari AU - R. Silva AU - C. Girelli
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.1434
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 6161
EP - 6167
ER -
L. Mortari, R. Silva, C. Girelli (2017) COMMUNITY SERVICE LEARNING EXPERIENCES IN PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ TRAINING, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 6161-6167.