Aboriginal Service Learning

Service Learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address social and environmental needs. Reciprocity and reflection are key components.


The ‘2 Way Learning’ Service Learning program is specifically designed for Aboriginal students from remote or rural locations to undertake service learning activities in overseas environments. They will serve and contribute to a community for the purpose of others security and fulfillment, a sustainable world, a just and equitable society and the protection of nature and other species.


For some students this might be the first time they have experienced international travel as they venture into a non-judgemental realm. The programs are intended to develop

  • empathy for other students and species
  • literacy skills teaching and reflection
  • independence
  • self discipline
  • self confidence
  • a broader understanding of cultural and linguistic diversity
  • knowledge of international concerns relating to climate change, social and environmental sustainability, social justice and gender equity and the impact of man on the environment and animal species.



There are two Aboriginal Service Learning programs

1. Developing Nation School Program


The Developing Nation School program involves living in and working with a community to focus on


  • social and environmental issues that effect the short and long term sustainability of the community
  • educational development
  • authentic and respectful relationships
  • marginalised members of the community
  • customs and culture of the community


(Important roles girls and women play in society, Impact of Climate Change, access to clean water, inadequate sanitation facilities and overcrowding, orphans and children with disabilities)


The program will require students to


  • conduct pre-program research into the country and community, identifying issues that impact on social and environmental sustainability
  • undertake a literacy teaching skills course to assist the literacy learning of community students
  • develop sport, music and drama initiatives to promote relationship building with all members of the community.
  • maintain a daily reflection booklet

2. Animal conservation program


Students will work with animal conservation groups to focus on


  • the impact of human intervention on the environment and the subsequent effect on animals
  • animal cruelty (including poaching) and effective and ineffective measures to reduce these practices
  • monitoring animals in their natural habitat
  • treating and rehabilitating injured and mis-treated wild animals.
  • mediums through which students advocate for and support animal welfare


With respect to the area visited, the program will require students to


  • conduct pre-program research into the types and numbers of animal species
  • conduct pre-research into the impact of man
  • maintain a daily reflection booklet


It is hoped that the students will gain self satisfaction that can comes from contributing.

Note 1:

For the purpose of this paper, the term Aboriginal students encompass those who are based in the remote or rural community. It is anticipated that the majority of these students will be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent but this cohort could include students of non-Aboriginal background. ‘2 Way Learning’ will involve all community students.