Democratic Dilemmas of Teaching Service-Learning: Curricular Strategies for Success

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Stylus Publishing, LLC., Feb 27, 2012 - Education - 220 pages
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A college student wants to lead a campaign to ban a young adult novel from his child’s elementary school as his service-learning project in a children’s literature course. Believing the book is offensive to religious sensibilities, he sees his campaign as a service to children and the community. Viewing such a ban as limiting freedom of speech and access to information, the student’s professor questions whether leading a ban qualifies as a service project. If the goal of service is to promote more vital democratic communities, what should the student do? What should the professor do? How do they untangle competing democratic values? How do they make a decision about action?

This book addresses the teaching dilemmas, such as the above, that instructors and students encounter in service-learning courses.

Recognizing that teaching, in general, and service-learning, in particular, are inherently political, this book faces up to the resulting predicaments that inevitably arise in the classroom. By framing them as a vital and productive part of the process of teaching and learning for political engagement, this book offers the reader new ways to think about and address seemingly intractable ideological issues.

Faculty encounter many challenges when teaching service learning courses. These may arise from students’ resistance to the idea of serving; their lack of responsibility, wasting clients’ and community agencies’ time and money; the misalignment of community partner expectations with academic goals; or faculty uncertainty about when to guide students’ experiences and when direct intervention is necessary.

In over twenty chapters of case studies, faculty scholars from disciplines as varied as computer science, engineering, English, history, and sociology take readers on their and their students’ intellectual journeys, sharing their messy, unpredictable and often inspiring accounts of democratic tensions and trials inherent in teaching service-learning. Using real incidents – and describing the resources and classroom activities they employ – they explore the democratic intersections of various political beliefs along with race/ethnicity, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and other lived differences and likenesses that students and faculty experience in their service-learning classroom and extended community. They share their struggles of how to communicate and interact across the divide of viewpoints and experiences within an egalitarian and inclusive environment all the while managing interpersonal tensions and conflicts among diverse people in complex, value-laden situations.

The experienced contributors to this book offer pedagogical strategies for constructing service-learning courses, and non-prescriptive approaches to dilemmas for which there can be no definitive solutions.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION COMPETING DEMOCRATIC VALUES IN TEACHING AND LEARNING
1
PART ONE DEMOCRATIC DILEMMAS OF TEACHING SERVICELEARNING
15
1 THE NATURE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING DILEMMAS Democracy in the Making
17
2 BANNING BOOKS TO PROTECT CHILDREN Clashing Perspectives in ServiceLearning
26
3 SOLIDARITY NOT CHARITY Issues of Privilege in ServiceLearning
33
PART TWO DESIGNING SERVICE LEARNINGCOURSES FOR DEMOCRATIC OUTCOMES
41
4 PEDAGOGICAL AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO SERVICELEARNING Connecting Academic Content to Community Service
43
5 STUDENT OBJECTION TO SERVICELEARNING A Teachable Moment About Political and Community Engagement
55
14 WORKING WITH HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS ServiceLearning Illustrations of Power and Privilege
119
15 DEMOCRATIC LESSONS IN FAITH SERVICE AND SEXUALITY
124
PART FIVE ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AS DIMENSIONS OF DEMOCRACY
129
16 DISCIPLINARY KNOWLEDGE SERVICELEARNING AND CITIZENSHIP
131
17 WHY SHOULD I CARE? Introducing ServiceLearning and Political Engagement to Computer Science Students
139
18 POLITICAL SCIENCE STUDENTS AND THE DISENGAGED POLIS Civic Education and Its Discontents
142
19 HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY AND POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT The Why and How
150
20 TO REFORM OR TO EMPOWER? Asian American Studies and Education for Critical Consciousness
157

6 PRACTICE MAKES IMPERFECT ServiceLearning for Political Engagement as a Window Into the Challenges of Political Organizing
58
7 MODELING CITIZENSHIP The Nexus of Knowledge and Skill
65
PART THREE CREATING DEMOCRATIC LEARNING COMMUNITIESWITHIN AND WITHOUT
71
8 CONSENSUS COLLABORATION AND COMMUNITY Mutually Exclusive Ideals?
73
9 CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN A GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATION AND A UNIVERSITY
82
10 NEGOTIATING STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF SERVICELEARNING
86
11 SERVICE LEARNING IS LIKE LEARNING TO WALK Baby Steps to Cultural Competence
92
PART FOUR DECONSTRUCTING DILEMMAS FOR DEMOCRATICALLY CENTERED LEARNING
99
12 CONFLICT AS A CONSTRUCTIVE CURRICULAR STRATEGY
101
13 WHY ARE YOU SO MAD? Critical Multiculturalist Pedagogies and Mediating Racial Conflicts in CommunityBased Learning
110
PART SIX EVALUATING DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND PROGRESS
167
21 ASSESSMENT OF EXPECTED AND UNEXPECTED SERVICE LEARNING OUTCOMES
169
22 EXPECTING THE POLITICAL GETTING THE INTERVIEW How Students Do Not See Writing as a Political Act
179
23 ADDRESSING POLICY DILEMMAS WITH COMMUNITY BASED RESEARCH AND ASSESSING STUDENT OUTCOMES
185
24 SERVICELEARNING FOR A DEMOCRATIC FUTURE
190
CONTRIBUTORS
195
INDEX
197
Also available from Stylus
208
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Christine M. Cress is Professor, Postsecondary, Adult, and Continuing Education (PACE) Program, Portland State University.

David M. Donahue is Associate Professor of Education, Mills College.

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