Narratives of Experiential Learning: Students’ Engagement in a Physical Activity-Based Service-Learning Course

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $63.00

1 year subscription

USD $84.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $119.00

2 year subscription

USD $156.00


Three undergraduate students’ experiences in a physical activity-based service learning course are chronicled using narrative inquiry.


Data collection included demographics questionnaires, pre- and postservice interviews, reflection journals, postservice written reflections, and participant observations. The data were analyzed with comprehensive deductive and inductive analysis procedures, along with the creation of detailed narratives summarizing students’ individual experiences and outcomes.


Results revealed student growth and development, including leadership development, improved interpersonal skills, increased knowledge of social justice issues, and enhanced self-understanding. However, the number, depth, and complexity of these outcomes varied significantly, which was largely explained by individual variables (e.g., interest in learning, level of effort, degree of adaptability).


These findings highlight the opportunity for course instructors to lead reflective activities before and during the service-learning experience, along with providing individualized guidance and feedback on students’ learning, effort, and adaptability throughout the service-learning course.

Whitley is with the Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education and Sport Management, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY. Walsh is with the Department of Kinesiology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA. Hayden is with the School Counseling Program and Counseling Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA. Gould is with the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Address author correspondence to Meredith Whitley at
Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
Article Sections
Article Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 40 40 13
Full Text Views 9 9 2
PDF Downloads 13 13 2
Altmetric Badge
Google Scholar
Cited By