Title

Does Service Learning Work? Attitudes of College Students Toward Individuals With Disabilities

Publication Date

12-1-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Kinesiology

Publication Title

Journal of Experiential Education

Volume

43

Issue

4

DOI

10.1177/1053825920918887

First Page

365

Last Page

380

Abstract

Background: Service-learning has been used in adapted physical activity and education (APA/E) courses in kinesiology. However, evidence has been lacking to clarify the need for utilizing service-learning in APA/E courses as an avenue to change attitudes of students. Purpose: This study aimed to compare two APA/E courses, one with service-learning and another without, to examine the effect of hands-on experiences working with individuals with disabilities on the attitudes of kinesiology undergraduate students. Methodology/Approach: Seventy-six undergraduate students enrolled in two APA/E courses were divided into the experimental (n = 28) and control group (n = 48). Only the experimental group had service-learning, which required working with children with autism in a physical activity program for 8 weeks. Both groups completed a self-efficacy measure and the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale Toward Persons With Disabilities (MAS) questionnaire at pre- and posttest. Findings/Conclusions: The results showed a significant positive change in the experimental group’s affect subset scores of the MAS and the self-efficacy measure. No significant changes in all variables were found in the control group. Implications: The findings of the study indicate that including a service-learning component in APA/E courses would be essential to change attitudes and increase self-efficacy of kinesiology students.

Keywords

college & professional education, disability, experiential learning, service-learning

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