Youth Empowerment Towards Social Responsibility through a Sevice Learning Program
This study investigates student personal development and sense of social responsibility through a service-learning program in a private high school in Dubai-UAE. This study utilized a qualitative research approach with a single case study design to provide a rich and contextualized picture of the program from multiple perspectives (school leadership, teachers, service-learning team and students). Data was collected through triangulation by means of semi-structured interviews, focus groups, participatory and non-participatory observations, field notes, artifacts, and document analysis. Content analysis was used in analyzing the collected data to identify emerging themes and patterns related to service-learning and its effect upon students. The study’s findings revealed that the school applied essential elements of service-learning. The participants of the service-learning program exhibited social responsibilities of greater community awareness, teamwork, commitment to community, gained self-esteem, and self satisfaction as they reflected on their ability to accomplish their tasks. This study’s goal is to bring about educational policy pertaining to service-learning as a legitimate educational pedagogy to be adopted in the UAE schools. This study hopes to contribute to service-learning programs’ research and enrich knowledge and best practices in the UAE and worldwide.