|Teaching Civic Engagement Globally is the result of collaborative work spanning scholars from multiple disciplines, fields, and careers. Political scientists, educators, and students have joined to produce important, timely research.|
Chapter 16: Civic Engagement through Work-Integrated Learning: Reflections from Community-Based Research on Social Grants in South Africa
by Laurence Piper, University of the Western Cape, Sondré Bailey, Gender Dynamix, and Robyn Pasensie, University of the Western Cape
This chapter makes the argument that Work Integrated Learning (WIL) can reinforce active citizenship as illustrated with an example from the South African context. WIL is an approach that holds that students will learn better in a program that integrates theoretical knowledge in the classroom with practical knowledge in the workplace. While WIL is not inherently orientated towards building active citizenship, the strategic use of WIL can result in learning outcomes very similar to civic engagement pedagogy, particularly when conceptualized as a collaborative and participatory form of community-based research. This claim is demonstrated through reflection on a research project conducted by master’s candidates at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, in conjunction with a human rights NGO, the Black Sash. The research required students, supported by Black Sash field-workers, to run participatory workshops in various poor communities to explore the impact of the privatization of the social grant payment system in South Africa. We show how the project reinforced the ideas and practices of active citizenship for the students involved and for the fieldworkers from Black Sash with whom they worked. Thus, while not intrinsic to WIL, active citizenship can be built through the strategic use of WIL programs to conduct community-based research or community engagement activities.
About Teaching Civic Engagement Globally
Educators around the globe are facing challenges in teaching politics in an era in which populist values are on the rise, authoritarian governance is legitimized, and core democratic tenets are regularly undermined. To combat anti-democratic outcomes and citizens’ apathy, Teaching Civic Engagement Globally provides a wide range of pedagogical tools to help the current generation learn to effectively navigate debates and lead changes in local, national, and global politics. Contributors discuss key theoretical discussions and challenges regarding global civic engagement education, highlight successful evidence-based pedagogical approaches, and review effective ways to reach across disciplines and the global education community.