Service learning is a process that connects various communities, this involves learning activities and students are supposed to take part in these activities. Pre-service students are supposed to reflect on communities activities so that they can enrich themselves and their communities (Bringle & Hatcher, 2000). Service learning has brought fresh energy into Australian education because it has enable pre service students to pass experiences acquired through service learning into the classroom curriculum. Before we justify how service learning can help pre service students in their learning, we should consider how the Australian society is culturally sensitive to the learning situation.
We should also consider the problem of racism in our schools due to existence of different cultures, such as the Indigenous cultures upheld by the natives (McConaghy, 2006). When a pre service student participates in service learning, he/she is able to acquire fundamental knowledge and skills that will enable the pre service student to build a positive teaching profession. Pre service student will get many opportunities that will help him/her to engage in community activities which the student is involved in. This will improve the life of a pre-service student through engaging in activities that will help the community to address their needs.
In addition pre service student is able to gain valuable knowledge and skills that will enable him/her to relate with his/her experiences elsewhere (Schoenfeld, 2006, cited in Lavery, 2007). In service learning, pre student who takes part in the program is able to pass on what he/she has been taught in his/her institution to the community; this is a way of fostering the development in community level. For example, a pre service student should learn that when teaching an Aboriginal student, he/she will need to be explained to many times so that he/she can understand and learn effectively.
The reason behind this is that in Aboriginal cultures, learning was passed through storytelling and the special aspect of the environment around them (Hek, 2005). Service learning, enable pre students to participate in community activities, and students are able to develop their learning skills through this. In addition, pre service students will act as co-ordinators between their institution and the community in places where they are having collaborations.
Institutions that have integrated service learning into their educational activities are able to incorporate student’s experiences into their academic curriculum. Moreover, the student is able to reflect and analyze various experiences acquired during their practicum service (Gray and Beresford, 2008). For example, a student will better understand the culture of a particular school and the value found in that institution. It has been found that, a pre service student is able to embrace the culture of a new school. Sometimes, a pre service student may find the culture of a particular school to be parallel to what they are being taught in their respective institutions (Hambel, 2005). The people who support service learning argue that there are many benefits that can come out of service learning more especially when a pre-service student participates in activities found in the community through service learning (King, 2004), a pre service student is able to mobilize his/her time, energy and creativity.
This is a vital resource to help ameliorate pressing societal problems. Also, such experiences achieved in service learning will help a pre service student in improving his/her self esteem, motivate him/her to learn, and act as an opportunity to leadership and problem solving skills (King, 2004).