Intercultural Service-Learning: Narrative Analysis of a Real Learning Experience

2017 edition

David Garcia-Romero

Service-Learning is a teaching methodology constituted by an educational practice that is at the same time a service to a community(Aramburuzabala, Cerrillo, & Tello, 2015; García Mayka & y Cotrina, 2015). In these kind of practice, it is considered that both sides are mutually necessary: the service couldn’t be given without the learners in the very practice of learning, that is also based in the reflection on their own participation (Macías Gómez-Estern, Martínez-Lozano, & Vásquez, 2014).

Also, since service-learning happens in real context, it makes the students enter in a new reality for them, where they interact and work together with professionals and other participants of the communities where they perform their practice. They get to become a “we”, a oneness(Gergen, 1998), with people that were others, what entails changes in their way of understanding the world and themselves.

For that, S-L has been defended as a kind of practice where students can learn theoretical concepts (needed to understand their own participation), professional competences and their view of themselves and the world, a global identity change or real learning(Lalueza, Padros, & Sanchez-Busques, 2016; MacĂ­as GĂłmez-Estern et al., 2014). The postulated potential of these methodology makes relevant the understanding of the learning process in other to be able to teach competent professionals in every discipline, in our case: psychological intervention and investigation.

The present investigation studies the learning of 30 students of the first and last year of the psychology degree of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona that performed S-L practice in intercultural and social exclusion contexts. As field practice of several courses of developmental and educational psychology, the students attended to educational collaborative activities of both schools and extra school activities where they participated together with children from other cultures and professional educators in a context previously unknown for them. They attended weekly during one semester and wrote reflexive field notes of each practice session.

The investigation methodology consists in the narrative analysis of the field notes produced by the students as a correlate of their learning and identity change. Using the software Atlas.ti, through grounded theory there where developed codes for the identification of real learning in three big categories of learning: theoretical learning, procedural learning and personal learning.

After the detection of the learning indicators in the field notes, a second level of analysis will take us to identificate the events and/or processes underlying the identitary change, with special emphasis of intercultural understanding and collaboration.

This way, we aim to find clues to teach competent, interculturally sensitive psychologists.