Reaching the Echo-Boomers: Using Service Learning to Engage Students

Noah Gentner, Humber College, Canada

Theme: Teaching sport and exercise psychology

Program ID: SYM-16

Presentation: October 4, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Oak Alley


Elmore (2008) has referred to the generation of students born between 1984 and 2002 as the Echo Boomers. This group which constitutes the current generation of college students presents a unique challenge to educators. In fact, Elmore (2009) suggested that effectively communicating with and teaching this generation requires a unique and different pedagogical approach than what has been typically utilized. Sweet (2007) further suggested that this generation requires experiential and participatory teaching styles which allow them to connect with the environment around them. In other words, these students want to actively participate in their learning. Within Sport and Exercise Psychology these students often want to help improve the health and well-being of those within their community. Service learning provides one avenue through which we can provide students with the hands-on, participatory learning experiences they crave. Service learning is a form of experiential education in which students provide a needed service to their community that is connected to specific learning outcomes from a course (Abes, Jackson, & Jones, 2002). The goal is to connect course material with “real-life” experience giving students the opportunity to process course information while making a difference in their community (Eyler & Giles, 1999; Jones, 2002). For Sport and Exercise Psychology students this can, and should, include promoting lifelong health within their communities. While service learning provides an example of effective pedagogy many instructors find it difficult to identify formal service learning opportunities for their students. The purpose of this presentation is to provide attendees with examples of simple service learning projects which they can incorporate into their classes. These projects are all aimed at enhancing lifelong health for those involved. The presenters will discuss several assignments and activities which they have used in their courses and provide attendees with resources to develop their own service learning projects.

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