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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Service Learning through Working with South Asian Children in Hong Kong

Alfred Chan Cheung Ming, Fong, M.S. Florence, Helen Lau Wing Lo.

Service learning is a "reciprocal relationship in which the service reinforces and strengthens the learning and learning reinforces and strengthens the services" (Prentice & Garcia, 2000). However, the way that students may learn from providing services to disadvantaged groups has not yet been well-developed in Hong Kong. The present service learning programme aims to explore the effects of service learning through selected undergraduates in Lingnan University by providing befriending services to South Asian pupils in primary schools. It is also expected to develop the teaching methods for the South Asian students.

Rationales for selecting South Asian children (Filipina, Indonesian, Indian, Nepalese and Pakistani) as the service targets are due to the fact that they are the minority group in the predominantly Chinese communities in Hong Kong. These Asian groups who do not know how to write or speak in Chinese but their children often are assigned to the village schools where fewer facilities have been evident. The language barriers and insufficient support in these schools further disadvantage the South Asia Children in adapting and learning. The service learning programme (i.e. befriending with South Asian children, teaching them social communication skills, as well as adapting to the Hong Kong society, and often English is used as a medium of communication) will both benefit the South Asian Children and Lingnan undergraduate by providing an off campus learning environment and enriching the life experience respectively.

A grounded theory approach suggested by Strauss and Classer, 1976 will be adopted for the action research. The undergraduates participated in the programme will be asked to keep a log of their involvements with their matched pupils, right from the start till the end of the programme. Students will be asked to evaluate their changes over the months in their own handling of emotional reactions, in their abilities to solve pupils' problems and their own, in their interpersonal relationships and their knowledge in understanding a different culture. Content analyses of the logs will be applied so as to explore the impacts of the service learning programme towards the participants.

The results of this experimental and action research will have significant impacts on students, teachers and educators.


Alfred Chan Cheung Ming  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)

Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS)
Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Fong, M.S. Florence  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
Senior Project Officer
Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS)
Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Florence Fong ,(Bsoc Sc, Mphil. Lingna Unversity) currently working as a senior project officer in Asia Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies, Lingnan University of Hong Kong. Her reasearch interests are focusing on service learning programme for the secondary school and Tertiary school students, older people for enhance their social competence skills and developing the protocol for the programme evaluations

Helen Lau Wing Lo  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)

Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS)
Lingnan University, Hong Kong

  • Service learning
  • Primary school
  • Tertiary education
  • Action research
  • Proactive teaching method
  • Asia children
  • Problem solving skills

(30 min Conference Paper, English)