We are concerned with identifying and reflecting on spirituality or values for the common good within the pedagogy of service-learning. Some identify it as another dimension… What if we imagine it as a weft that runs from beginning to end and feeds back into individual and group growth through a process of reflection?
The main recognised dimensions of SL are three: the curricular dimension, student commitment and leadership, and a real and meaningful service with the community.
Image. Dimensions of service-learning
We are concerned with identifying and reflecting on spirituality or values for the common good within this pedagogy. Some identify it as another dimension, but that would lead us to give it a separate space from the other dimensions. What if we imagine it as a weft that runs from beginning to end and feeds back into individual and group growth through a process of reflection? It would no longer be another dimension but the structural axis of a SL project or programme.
Work should begin in the first two dimensions, encouraging internal reflection, both in students and teachers, on the aspects that are close to their hearts. Work can be done on the meaning of life, personal development, personal awareness and spiritual growth.
We can also work on the possibility that in going outwards we can think about a 360° dialogue and beyond religion. This reflection in the institution could lead to the need for curricular modifications that would incorporate areas such as ethics, training in values, bioethics, civic commitment, etc. This also leads to a spiritual reflection of the institution itself.
Image. Dimensions of service-learning and inwards aspects
From this internal strengthening (students and faculty) we reach the relationship with the community, going outwards where we apply these values developed in relation to aspects such as ethics and moral development, solidarity, service, dialogue, fraternity, this feeling of interconnected humanity. This process of reflection outwards, which we can interpret as a transversal process, feeds back into the internal work, and then prepares us to go outwards again. In this back and forth everything is connected and this is the idea of weaving a new tapestry, that of spirituality centred on a truly fraternal dialogue in order to work together.
The image of this weaving can be seen in this graph:
Image. Dimensions of service-learning, inwards and outwards aspects