This chapter discusses an experience in service learning in a rural community in central Mexico, developed by students from a private university located in the area. The aim is to identify if this educational approach builds on interactions that support individual and collective improvement simultaneously. Service learning was introduced and tested at this institution to enhance the academics' educational tool box. This development was embedded in a core (not elective) module focused on developing students writing and research skills. Problems emerged when students were asked to organize and execute a project. They started planning based on preconceived ideas before visiting the place. As a result, the project initially involved a top-down design for restructuring a community. Even though this might be useful, the project required incorporating service learning principles. These consider issues such as capacity building that may start from community needs or aspirations; a bottom-up approach that was not recognized initially by students. The expectation was to develop something ‘different' in a community that had been receiving aid from different sources and had not yet thrived.
|Title of host publication||Community Engagement Program Implementation and Teacher Preparation for 21st Century Education|
|Editors||Cathryn Crosby, Frederick Brockmeier|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|