Author(s)

Fanny Chouinard

Date Approved

3-27-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Sudeck, Maria

Subject(s)

Service learning

Disciplines

Educational Leadership

Abstract

In general, the community partnerships found in service learning programs can be conduits between underserved populations and populations that have greater access to resources (Burbank & Hunter, 2008). A typical community partnership would be among a local institution of learning, the parents of underserved children, and their children. Although service learning programs cannot be expected to solve all problems of the individuals, the community, and the University, they can have a positive impact on the complex relationships between its stakeholders. The intention of this action research project was to determine the effect of a theater service learning course with children. Specifically, a devising method of theater was used and the study examined the change in the interpersonal relationships and social skills among the lecturer and University students who led the course, along with at-risk and privileged children grades 6 through 9 (n=21). Additionally, the dissertation analyzed the social responsibility awareness by the University students who participated in the service learning course. The analysis of the findings used a mixed methodology, which included qualitative and quantitative measures. The qualitative data at times confirmed what was found in the quantitative portions of the research and vice versa. The at-risk children demonstrated increased levels of confidence during the course. The University students indicated through a survey that they listen more carefully to the perceptions of others around them. Implications for future service learning courses in the particular community are discussed.

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