Literacy and Learning in the Community is a new service learning class for Visiting Students from the United States at National University of Ireland, Galway.
This semester long class is worth 5 ECTS credits (approximately 2-3 US credits) and is delivered via a series of academic lectures, reflective seminars and over 20 hours of service at an after school homework club at a local elementary.
NUI Galway has long been recognised as the leading university in Ireland in the area of student volunteering and service learning. While visiting students have always had the option to take part in the universities volunteering programmes, Literacy and Learning in the Community is a unique opportunity to earn credits through service learning.
Students gain an improved understanding of important theories and perspectives relating to literacy acquisition and how Irish society responds to the challenges associated with this important educational and social issue.
Students will also benefit from experiential learning of how local homework clubs in the Galway area provide support and structure for children to develop their learning and literacy skills; additionally, they will develop an appreciation of the relationship between the university and these voluntary organisations in respect of the concepts of civic engagement and service learning.
Additionally, students will develop an ability to reflect on the academic content of the course and relate it to their personal experience in community homework clubs.
Students are required to complete an essay in examination conditions at the end of the course, which counts for 30% of the overall grade awarded. In addition, students are required to submit a detailed portfolio of reflective learning, which counts for 50% of the overall grade.
Students are given regular journal assignments which are informed by their reading of specific academic texts relating to the subject of service learning and literacy acquisition as well as by their first-hand experiences at their service placements.
The remaining 20% of marks is based on attendance and participation in both the formal classes which take place each week of the semester and at the students’ chosen homework clubs.
For more information, please contact the International Affairs Office at NUI Galway.