Service-Learning (S-L) is a pedagogy actualizing the long-standing motto of the Lingnan University, ‘Education for Service’, which is manifested by the provision of tangible assistance to the others with reflective elements for the students.
Service-Learning combines rigorous academic study with voluntary community service. The service performed by students illustrates and reinforces their academic study through the process of critical thought and self-reflection. Service-Learning is based on 3 important philosophical bases:
- Society is best fortified through reciprocal relationships of people helping each other
- Serving others serves ourselves
- Serving to learn, learning to serve
Service-Learning requires the active participation of students, community partners, and academic supporters who all come together to promote reciprocal learning. Through experiential education, Service-Learning amplifies students’ learning outcomes, addresses real community needs, and encourages the genuine reciprocity of community-university relationships.
Lingnan University is a liberal arts school and its history of liberal arts education could be traced back to ancient times in the East and in the West. Confucius spoke of six “arts” ranging from fine arts to artillery. In modern interpretation, liberal arts education encompasses three main areas of study: humanities, physical/biological sciences and mathematics, and social sciences.
Since our relocation to Tuen Mun in 1995, Lingnan University has sought to position itself as a liberal arts institution with its distinctive mission. Lingnan University has an ancient history blending the East and the West. Our mission statement, ‘Education for Service’, emphasizes a holistic approach of whole-person education, which enables students to think, judge, care and act responsibly in the ever-evolving global village. From our participation in different Service-Learning conferences, it is believed that Service-Learning is a concept that imparts practical meaning to our mission.
In 2004, a new Service-Learning and Research Scheme (SLRS), mainly funded by a donation from Kwan Fong Charitable Foundation, was designed as pilot program to aid the development of university-wide Service-Learning Programmes (SLP) in Lingnan University. Three distinctive programmes were launched under the SLRS: Lingnan Health Care Ambassadors (LHCA), Lingnan Community Researchers (LCR) and Lingnan Cross-Cultural Buddies (LCCB), and with three forms of service practicum. A total of 200 students have served over 2100 individuals in the community since its kickoff, including children, the elderly, parents, ethnic minorities and people with learning disabilities.
With the encouragement from the community and the tremendous support from the University, the Office of Service-Learning (OSL) has been set up in 2006 to further integrate and develop the concept of Service-Learning (S-L) into our liberal arts curriculum among institutions in Hong Kong.
We believe the added values for the University through students taking S-L programs are definitely, and the most important point is to build a positive image and to have our students trained as future community leaders.