Following the devastation of hurricane Katrina, a university located in the south-eastern United States created a service-learning program. This program was established so that physical education teacher education (PETE) students could provide physical activities to children living in a temporary, government-funded housing community. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the service-learning program shaped preservice teachers’ cultural competency. The participants were 16 PETE students in a curriculum development course. A questionnaire was used to assess changes in the students’ cultural competency. Reflective journals and interviews were qualitative data sources used to identify significant elements of the service-learning program that elicited thoughts about the role of cultural competency in teaching. Findings revealed that there were changes in cultural competency. Triangulation of the data suggested that the service-learning participants identified consistent engagement, exposure to another culture, and an engaged instructor as key contributors to cultural competency within the service-learning program.
The authors are with the Kinesiology Department, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.