Winter School – Teachers‘ Training Week on Service Learning and Student Engagement

From 17th to 21st of February 2020 the Winter School – Teachers‘ Training Week on Service Learning and Student Engagement took place at the University of Vienna (Centre for Teacher Education). The Winter School offered an intensive training in the field of Service Learning and other methodologies to embrace student engagement at university level (30 hours). Considering that Service Learning is becoming more and more popular, the Winter School intended to discuss how university teachers plan, coordinate and implement Service Learning. The main target groups were teachers in Higher Education institutions who already work with the Service Learning Approach and other project-based methodologies or who plan to work with it. Participants of the Winter School came from Lithuania, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, and Austria. The Winter School provided lectures from European experts, interactive exercises, the opportunity for an international exchange of knowledge with other educators and the presentation of a workbook of how to do Service Learning.

The programme of the Winter School – Teachers‘ Training Week on Service Learning and Student Engagement included presentations and keynotes on relevant topics and a field trip to a book shop with a Social Impact in Vienna (Books4Life).

Presentations and Keynotes to the following themes:

  • Foundations of Service Learning (Katharina Resch & Mariella Knapp, University of Vienna);
  • Campus Cartography – Embedding and Institutionalising Service Learning as an Ethos and Practice within Higher Education (Lorraine McIlrath, National University of Ireland, Galway);
  • Academia and Social Responsibility: The Third Mission Strategy Project of the University of Vienna (Barbara Schober, University of Vienna);
  • Service Learning in Higher Education – Fostering Third Mission of Universities and Civic Engagement of Students. Setting up New Service Learning Projects (Magdalena Fellner, Danube University Krems);
  • Partnerships between Schools and the University of Vienna from 2003-2019. Service Learning in Teacher Education (Ilse Schrittesser, University of Vienna);
  • Partners on Equal Footing. Cooperation between Universities and Schools in Teacher Education (Katrin Kleemann, University of Potsdam);
  • Student Engagement Recognition – How Service Learning and other Forms of Engagement are Recognised by Higher Education Institutions (Katharina Resch, University of Vienna);
  • Matching Tools for Communities – Technical Session (Gabriel Dima);
  • Presentation of the first draft of the Workbook „How to Do Service Learning?“ developed in the ENGAGE Student project.

The participants were also involved in working in small mixed-groups on the following topics:

  • Experiences with Service Learning & reflection on the own motivation to use this approach in university courses
  • Connecting Service Learning to other methodologies
  • How to plan Service Learning Courses?
  • The involvement of community partners in Service Learning
  • Different forms of recognition on Student Engagement
  • Teachers‘ perspectives on Service Learning Support and Training Material

During the Winter School, participants reflected on different perspectives on Service Learning and acquired new didactical skills. They created networks for knowledge sharing and so are able to start innovative and high-quality projects in their lectures in the future. The Winter School created an intellectually creative, challenging and inspiring space for dialogue and inquiry. The Winter School was founded by the European Union as part of the ENGAGE STUDENTS Erasmus+ project.