Incorporating service learning into New Zealand hospitality education: benefits and issues
This paper discusses the benefits of offering a service learning component in the current New Zealand hospitality education curriculum. The paper is conceptual and draws on literature to build a justification for including service learning in hospitality education, while specifically discussing multicultural and bicultural considerations in the New Zealand context. Service learning is defined, and the potential benefits to hospitality learners are discussed. An outline of the pedagogical background of service learning is included and service learning is placed in the broader hospitality education framework. It is suggested that service learning could provide a useful counterweight to the rather narrow, traditional curriculum focus on vocational, business and management areas. The paper considers the unique multi-culture and bi-cultural ramifications of applying service learning in the New Zealand educational context. Specific focus is applied to using service learning within the obligations of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Māori concept of Manaakitanga is discussed in detail, with comparisons being drawn between concerns over the commercialisation of Manaakitanga and the commercialisation of hospitality. The argument is made that service learning could provide an option for hospitality education that moves away from a traditional commercial/managerial focus. It would instead emphasise the ‘true’ nature of hospitality and Manaakitanga; a desire to make others happy, compassion, service and care for the community.