|Scooped by Lauren Farrugia|
St. Vincent De Paul Society has many prime examples that demonstrate the significant contribution volunteers have within an organization to supporting many social groups who may not have easy access to their basic needs. Initiatives that can be explored as a whole class could include Night Patrol, Winter Sleepouts and family services. An excursion to the local Vinnies store (or other second hand charity store depending on the area) could be conducted to have the children look at how these promote greater accessibility to accessing needs.
Students could also be grouped and allocated a figurative budget, which they are then to write down what they could buy from the store with these financial resources. For example, the budget for one group could be $20, while another could be $40 and groups could present their ‘purchase list’ and discuss how an organization, such as Vinnies assists people within the community. Student individual reflections could conclude their experience to the store, whereby students are encouraged to express their thoughts on the contribution Vinnies makes to community life and the vital need for volunteers to assist the smooth running of services.
Donating items to such stores can also promote the idea of reusing resources rather than simply throwing them away, thus further establishing links with other key HSIE areas.
McDonald and Gilbert (2011) advocate the pedagogical strategy of field trips/excursions in Stage 2 learners finding out and collecting community based data, as it enables students to observe “beyond the classroom” (Gilbert, R., McDonald, H., 2011, p. 112). Additionally it reflects Newmann and Wehlage (1993, as cited by Gilbert, R., 2011 p.143) promote the concept of connectedness to the world as the key to experiential learning, as students are exploring the social issues within the community and learning how voluntary organizations are accessible (Gilbert, R., 2011, p.143). When assessing teachers use levels of the SOLO taxonomy to distinguish the levels of thinking students undertake when writing their reflections about the excursion. There are both numerical and literacy links with these learning activities, as students need to effectively budget and calculate monetary figures, as well as construct a written response that reflects their understanding of the contributions voluntary organizations, such as Vinnies, contribute to community life.
Gilbert., R, Hoepper., B (2011). Teaching society and Environment. Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited