Case Studies & Applied Research
This manuscript will examine two high-impact practices in academia, community-based learning, and study abroad. The authors discuss the benefits of both practices and how pairing the two can benefit not only future educators but future leaders. This model provides students with the opportunity to become more globally competent through their time in another culture. Throughout this immersion, college students taught English in the context of reading, mathematics, science, or social studies. Critical and analytical reflection was a significant aspect of their college course. At the conclusion of their community-based study abroad course, students were asked to synthesize a final report referencing earlier reflections. Experiences both positive and negative are shared to provide a realistic picture of how college students might maneuver the dual role of student and community provider.
Ballard, G. D., & Murray, S. (2017), Educators continually examine the best practices for their disciplines. Both Spanish and education can truly be enhanced through more hands-on activities implemented through a community-based pedagogical approach. Students learning Spanish, benefit from the opportunity to speak the language to native speakers while immersed in the culture. While future educators need the chance to interact with students and to practice teaching/facilitating activities. Thus, collaborating on a community-based study abroad class in rural Costa Rica made perfect sense for both an education and Spanish professor. The literature supports the value of implementing a community-based approach in teacher preparation as a means of learning about different cultures and correcting misconceptions that future educators might have about those particular groups (Cooper, 2007). Thus a cultural exchange will be examined through the framework of two courses, Spanish and education, offered in Costa Rica in January 2010. The following will be described: professors leading the trip, course structure, the local Costa Rican school setting, students enrolled, reflection on experiences during the trip, lessons learned, and future directions. Literature Review The two high impact practices brought together were community-based learning and study abroad. Independently, both practices have often proven to provide life changing experiences. Thus one can only imagine the effects of bringing both practices together. The concept of community-based study abroad courses is not something new. However, the terminology used to describe such an experience differs throughout the literature. Such practices may be described as international service learning, community-based learning, civic--order to analyze the perspectives of the local educators and build sustainable relationships. In addition, as mentioned by Palmer and Menard-Warwick (2012), students need ample time to reflect and process their experiences. Sometimes this processing goes beyond the course itself. Thus, asking students to reflect a year or more after the experience might provide new insights and perspectives on their overall experience. The community-based Spanish and education collaboration abroad in 2010 was the basis for many more classes like it in the years that followed. The professors have now adapted their methodologies by focusing more on the importance of the community providers, gathering student and community partner reflections after the course ends, and helping students process cultural aspects of the worksites as part of their academic experience. Community-based study abroad classes like the one developed in La Palma in 2010 provide students with real opportunities and challenges that ferment their growth as students. The college students have all taken steps to understand the basic principles that bind them together as members of the same human family.. Reciprocity and Reflection in Community-based Study Abroad Courses in Rural Costa Rica. PRISM: A Journal of Regional Engagement, 6 (1). Retrieved from https://encompass.eku.edu/prism/vol6/iss1/2