April Post, M.A.
"Without language, one cannot
hope to talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their
hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their history or
savour their songs."
Nelson Mandela, 1995
My research interests primarily revolve around the work I have done in service-learning. Currently I am studying the impacts on my students of including a service-learning project in my Conversation courses. I use both quantitative and qualitative data to study the effects of the experience on my students. Students take a pre- and post-survey with both close-ended and open-ended questions. They also do guided journaling based on Pam Kiser’s Integrated Processing Model 1. So far, I have seen positive impacts on their sense of social responsibility, personal efficacy and academic knowledge. Below are some sample quotes from my students’ reflective journals.
Recognizing cultural disconnect and appreciating cultural differences
“I realized that I want to maintain my friendship with my amiga….I feel like I made a positive difference in her life. She is able to appreciate many things in life that I take for granted. I couldn’t have this experience in the classroom. I learned how to see my world through the eyes of someone who lives in a world and culture completely different from mine.”
Efficacy: Cultural confidence and empowerment
“A problem I have right now with society is that many people, especially in North Carolina, think that every Hispanic person is Mexican, but that’s not the case. And many of those people think that all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, but they aren’t. Because of this experience, I will speak against the people who say those things.”
Knowledge: Communicative competence and increased confidence speaking
“Now I’m not afraid to speak to my amigo in Spanish and I’m more confident. This experience really helped me to speak Spanish.”
1 Kiser, P. M. (1996). The integrative processing model: A framework for learning in the field experience. Human Service Education, 18(1): 3-13.