Service Learning is a big part of who we are at Diocesan. But what exactly is it and how do we put it into practice? Let’s take a look!
Diocesan has always held to the principle of educating both heart and mind and service has always been a core value here. Our motto, Ut Serviamus (that we may serve), has been demonstrated in countless ways over our 112 year history. Our Service Learning Philosophy focuses on making a difference to communities rather than just fundraising for charities. This can best be described as finding out the needs of others, stepping into their shoes and hearing about what can be done to support them.
The lead singer of the band U2 – Bono – does extraordinary work in philanthropy around the world. In one African country, he donated a number of pumps to extract water from deep in the ground to save women in communities a five-kilometre walk to the nearest lake. On visiting the communities, he found that despite the effective pumps that were installed, women continued to walk to the lake to draw water. On investigating this, it seemed that the local people felt that drawing water from deep underground raised spirits that had been buried over the years. They therefore did not want to use the pumps. Bono found that well-meaning people had not consulted with local people about their beliefs, their values and what would help them most.
Service learning is about finding out how to help others and it is not about imposing what we think. We all have a view of the world based on our culture, family values and experiences of life. Taken further to group thinking and controlling others, this is commonly called ‘hegemony’ and can be seen many times in history where conquering armies and colonialists imposed their thinking and religious beliefs on others. Being aware of our own hegemony often becomes apparent when we travel as you experience the world of different people. It is important for our young people to understand the values of others, to stand in their shoes, and find ways of giving service that are caring, consultative and thoughtful. This service learning philosophy is an important character attribute that we hope will influence our girls well into the future.