Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details


The Value of Service Learning in Teacher Education: Raising the Awareness of the Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

Judy Higbee.

The obesity rate among youth in the United States has increased by 200% over the past 20 years, according to the Surgeon General's Office. Public school teachers are a population that would be useful in intervening in this alarming trend. It is also clear that students learn from the role modelling behaviour of their teachers. The goal of this activity was to raise the level of awareness of both teacher-candidates and existing educators of the importance and value of regular physical activity and healthy lifestyles. This was done incorporating service learning, which may be defined as students meeting the needs of the community while fulfilling course requirements.

The Huntsman World Senior Games is an annual event in which participants, 50 years of age and better, come together for two weeks of sports competition in over 19 sports, one of which is volleyball. Volleyball teams compete according to gender and minimum age, like Women 50 and Men 75. Students were recruited from 10 university courses to score the volleyball competition during the 2002 games.

Participants were trained, responded to a pre-service survey, scored during their assigned times, and responded to a post-service survey. The survey items were aligned with the standards of each course and reports were sent to each instructor. The responses indicated that participants were not only surprised at the high quality of play, but verbalized reflections that included (1) diversity, with people from different countries and backgrounds coming together, each having very different styles, yet each having the potential to win; (2) community relationships, with teachers who develop these bringing a richness and variety to learning; and (3) teachers as role models, with teachers having a responsibility to stay active throughout their lives.

This service learning experience is being expanded to include the foreign language department and will now become an annual activity in many classes.


Judy Higbee  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Teacher Education
Southern Utah University

Judy Higbee earned her Ph.D. in Research and Evaluation Methodology (Psychology) in 1999 from Utah State University, and has been a faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education at Southern Utah University since 1997. She is interested in topics related to aging and physical activity, and is currently working with the Huntsman World Senior Games to promote healthy lifestyles through raising the awareness of education students of the importance of regular physical activity.

  • Service learning
  • Raising awareness
  • Teacher-Candidates
  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Lifestyles

(30 min Conference Paper, English)