Benefits of Exposing Third-year English Language Student Teachers to Service Learning in One Rural-based University

Lungile Lindile P. Bele, Maria Sewela Mabusela, Thembela Comfort Ntshangase, Dumisani Russel Nzima


The study explored the benefits of exposing third-year Bachelor of Education students to Service Learning at a rural-based South African University. Service Learning (SL) is a practice that links community service with learning activities to promote substantive learning. This study aimed to explore whether third-year student teachers could benefit from helping first-year student university students acquire literacy skills through SL. The study was underpinned by the Experiential learning theory (ELT). A qualitative research paradigm underpinned by an interpretative epistemology was used in this study. A non-random sampling technique was used to select participants from the Faculty of Education at the participating institution. Data were generated using observing classroom activities, semi-structured and focus group interviews. Data analysis emerged with themes and sub-themes. Overall, the results revealed that the third-year students gained self-confidence, enhanced self-esteem and enhanced academic skills. The study revealed that exposing students to SL made them gain academic knowledge, cognitive skills, interpersonal skills, and self-confidence as they endeavoured to put theoretical knowledge into practice. As a pedagogy, SL created an enabling environment for learners to express themselves freely – thereby creating space for the expression and consolidation of new experiences. Thus, the study suggested that SL be incorporated into pre-service teacher education programmes from the first year in a spiral curriculum modality up to the fourth (last) year of study. Incorporation of SL into teacher education programmes may be done by infusing it into School experience modules as proposed by the participants.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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