A framework for service-learning in the undergraduate radiography programme in the Mangaung area
Botha, René Walter
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In this research project, an in-depth study was done by the researcher with a view to compiling a framework for Service-Learning (SL) in the undergraduate Radiography programme in the Mangaung area. SL is “a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organised service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content” (Bringle & Hatcher 1995: 212). Currently no framework for SL in resource-based disciples such as Radiography exists in South Africa. The objectives of the study were: • To establish whether the community benefits from Radiography SL; • To establish whether SL cultivates social responsiveness in students; • To investigate the effectiveness of SL in enabling students to achieve the generic skills; • To establish specifically whether SL cultivates critical thinking in students; and • To analyse whether reciprocity is achievable when doing SL in Radiography. A mixed method research approach was used to gather data consisting of both qualitative and quantitative data. Third-year Radiography students prepared and executed dramatised presentations, and Grade 12 learners, contact persons at the five schools involved and the Radiography facilitator evaluated the presentations using different rubrics. The Radiography students completed a structured reflection adapted from Zlotkowski et al. (2005) and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal tool. Radiography academics participated in a semi-structured interview during the study. Data was also gathered from delegates at the 42th ISELT conference. The data sets were merged, connected and embedded to facilitate triangulated discussion and conclusions. Grade 12 learners, contact persons and academics who participated (42nd ISELT conference UJ, TUT and CPUT) indicated that communities benefitted from the SL intervention. From students‟ reflective comments it can be concluded that students became more socially responsive. This conclusion was confirmed by the academics who participated. From feedback by Grade 12 learners and contact persons and other academics involved, it can be concluded that SL enables students to attain generic attribute skills. The collective results of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal tool of the third visit increased from the second visit. Facilitators from the ISELT conference, UJ, TUT and CPUT confirmed that SL assists in developing critical thinking skills in students. Academic reciprocity was made possible by incorporation of additional sources of information, through doing research and by having a practical approach to simplifying information. From the conclusions it is clear that SL activities benefit students and communities. The general approach to structuring the framework allows other academic fields to make use of this framework. The framework has an action-research format: activities and goals of the intervention are reflected on constantly.