Our space at the heart of the smallpox vaccine expedition

A service-learning project for social studies and citizenship education in Galicia (Spain)


  • Roberto García-Morís University of A Coruña https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9030-0810
  • Montserrat Muriano University of A Coruña
  • Begoña Bas University of A Coruña




citizenship education, service-learning, social studies, smallpox expedition, A Coruña


  • The study reports on, analyses and gives voice to the participants of a service-learning project involving students of education in a real educational context.
  • The project was based on a historical event whose proximity to the students’ local environment helped them to realise its relevance to their own lives.
  • The interdisciplinary nature of the project approaches citizenship education from the perspective of historical issues and events.
  • The preparation and delivery of teacher training activities in a real educational context proved a positive, effective and enriching experience for all of the agents involved.
  • The Smallpox Vaccine Expedition offers a more historiographically inclusive approach to school history and is directly relatable to current social issues.

Purpose: The article reports on and analyses the creation, development and implementation of a service-learning project involving primary and secondary school pupils and students of education (bachelor’s and master’s level), carried out in a real educational setting over the course of two academic years.

Approach: The project was conducted within a social science didactics framework of issues-centred teaching for the study of socially acute questions and global citizenship.

Findings: The research yielded very positive results. The task for student teachers of contextualising their social studies learning in a real educational setting was found to be a motivating factor and provided useful lessons in relation to practical teacher training experiences of this kind.

Implications: Greater emphasis should be placed on teacher training projects that include direct experience in real educational settings, particularly in relation to service-learning methodologies involving community service.

Author Biographies

Roberto García-Morís, University of A Coruña

Roberto García-Morís is a lecturer in Social Science Didactics in the Faculty of Education at the University of A Coruña (Galicia, Spain), where he teaches courses in teacher training for early childhood, primary and secondary education. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Oviedo (Spain), and his most recent work focuses on teaching and learning in social studies, geography and history based on controversial social issues and education for citizenship.

Montserrat Muriano, University of A Coruña

Montserrat Muriano is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of A Coruña, where she teaches undergraduate and Master’s courses in the didactics of Galician language and literature for children and young people. She holds a PhD in Galician Philology from the University of A Coruña and is a member of the Hispania (Hispanic Language, Literature and Culture) research group. Her specialist areas include lexicography, teaching and learning in Galician language and literature, and innovation in education.

Begoña Bas, University of A Coruña

Begoña Bas is a recently retired lecturer in Social Science Didactics at the University of A Coruña (Galicia, Spain) and former education outreach, library, records and publications officer at the History and Archaeology Museum of A Coruña. As an expert in cultural heritage, she has participated in numerous research, restoration and outreach projects, while her university teaching focuses on heritage didactics for teacher training. She holds a PhD in History and Geography from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).


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