Original Research

Service learning in foundation phase teacher education: Experiential learning opportunities for student teachers

Gadija Mia Petker, Nadine Petersen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 4, No 3 | a231 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i3.231 | © 2014 Gadija Mia Petker, Nadine Petersen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 March 2015 | Published: 30 December 2014

About the author(s)

Gadija Mia Petker, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nadine Petersen,

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This paper reports on the implementation of a model that infuses service-learning into a four-year foundation phase teacher education programme. We argue for an integrated curriculum design utilising specifically the teaching (laboratory) school of the faculty, not only for clinical experience or work-integrated learning, but also for service-learning. In this way, the relation of the teacher education programme to the teaching school and its location within Soweto, an area within Johannesburg, optimises the affordances of learning from and through experience for students. The service-learning activities were designed to inform and draw on students’ practical and situational learning (learning in and about context) and address the notions of integrated and applied knowledge in the ‘Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications’ (RSA DHET 2011). We argue in this paper that the incremental inclusion of service-learning over a four-year period and the varied nature of the service-learning projects within the programme extend students’ learning from practice, provide opportunities for students to see people outside of formal education as ‘experts’ who have something to contribute to their education, and maximize the potential civic and academic outcomes for students.


service-learning, foundation phase teacher education, experiential learning, teaching (laboratory) school


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