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Service-Learning at Secondary School: Pedagogy and Practice

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About This Course

This course is designed for educators working in secondary school settings.

This course aims to introduce you to the concept and value of Service-Learning, and to equip you with the basic knowledge, attitudes and skills required for planning and implementing a Service-Learning project effectively. It consists of an Introduction, 6 instructional units, and End-of-Unit Tests. You will be awarded a Certificate of Completion upon successfully completing all the requirements of the course.

Table of Content

1. What is Service-Learning?

2. Benefits and Challenges of Service-Learning

3. Developing and Sustaining Community Partnership

4. Designing and Implementing Service-Learning

5. Facilitating Student Reflection in Service-Learning

6. Assessing Student Outcomes in Service-Learning

Course Staff

Dr NGAI, Grace

Grace Ngai graduated from Brown University (Sc.B) and Johns Hopkins University (MSE, PhD) in the United States. Since starting her career at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, she has successfully pioneered a number of teaching initiatives, one of the most prominent being service-learning. Together with her team, she proposed one of the first service-learning subjects at PolyU. This subject, which integrates service to the community with technology and computing, has brought students on service projects in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Africa, and Rwanda. Many of these projects were held during the COVID-19 pandemic when traditional face-to-face teaching and travel was not possible, and innovative means had to be devised to allow students to keep learning and serving.

Dr Ngai and the Service-Learning and Leadership Office have been instrumental in the effort to support and promote PolyU’s service-learning initiative. Dr Ngai was the founding coordinator of the Sub-committee on Service-Learning Subjects, which oversees the approval and offering of all service-learning subjects, and the co-facilitator of the Community of Practice in Service-learning. Through numerous teaching & learning development projects, they have initiated many professional development programmes that engage faculty through workshops, seminars, and research salons on topics in offering, assessing, and conducting scholarly work in service-learning.

PolyU's service-learning programme has expanded over the years. From 6 subjects and 200 students in 2012, as of 2022, PolyU has over 70 regularly-offered subjects which cater to over 4,000 students every year. As a result of her work, Dr Ngai's team was the recipient of the Hong Kong University Grants Committee Teaching Award in 2016, and PolyU's service-learning programme was awarded the "Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year" by the Times Higher Education Awards Asia 2022.

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This course was developed as part of the The "Capacity Building Scheme for Secondary School Teachers: Promoting Meaningful Social Engagement for Young People through Service-Learning", funded by a generous donation from Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation and Keswick Foundation.

We would also like to thank the students, staff, and community partners who took part in the interviews and shared their experience and practical wisdom with us throughout the development of this course.