- LBST302.3TM Studies of Cultures in Contact: Peoples, Cultures and Challenges in the Middle East
- HSRV390.3TM Empowering Individuals with Disabilities
- Dina Schwam, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Services, College of Professional Advancement
- Hani Khoury, Professor of Mathematics, College of Professional Advancement
Service Project Description:
- Mercer students, along with hosting teams which include special education teachers and staff from two hosting schools from the Lower Galilee, will supervise a summer camp for students with special needs (physical, learning disabilities and autism) that will be also open to the children from the community. Mercer students will be supervised by Mercer faculty, as well as the special education teachers and staff at the respective schools.
- The camp will include activities such as sports, games, instruction in English, and art work, all of which will be conducted at the host schools. Children in the camp will be selected by the host schools. Using the framework of Social-Cognitive theory, the purpose of the summer camp is to provide an opportunity to integrate students with special needs along with children in the community in a fun interactive environment fostering team work, creative expression, and interpersonal skills. While increasing self-efficacy and empowerment in the students with special needs remains to be the emphasis of this summer camp, encouraging collaboration between students with and without special needs will only enhance that process.
- The project will test the expectation that through the collaborative learning experience, both groups are expected to have a shift in perspective. The perceptions of the community students are anticipated to change, recognizing the similarities between themselves and their peers with disabilities, and form effective relationships. The students with disabilities will feel acceptance through the relationship building activities, recognize their similarities as well, increase their self-efficacy to engage in mixed-ability environments, leading to a greater level of empowerment. Due to the large range in age, older students with special needs will assist Mercer students as peer mentors with the title “counselors in-training” in leading the younger students during activities. Research has supported peer-led instruction in regular and special education classrooms as not only an effective method of learning for both the peer and the mentor, but also has a positive effect in building self-efficacy, self-esteem, a positive sense of self-worth in students in special educations.
For more information, e-mail MercerOnMission@mercer.edu or call (478) 301-2992.