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Experiencing Service-Learning

Robert F. Kronick, Robert B. Cunningham, and Michele Gourley

Publication Year: 2011

A unique resource for students and professors alike, this book reveals the important practical, educational, and emotional benefits provided by college programs that allow students to help others through service work in inner-city classrooms, clinics, and other challenging environments. Filled with vivid first-person reflections by students, Experiencing Service-Learning emphasizes learning by doing, getting into the field, sharing what one sees with colleagues, and interpreting what one learns. As the authors make clear, service-learning is not a spectator sport. It takes students “away from the routines and comfort zones of lecture, test, term paper, exam” and puts them into the world. Service-learning requires them to engage actively with cultures that may be unfamiliar to them and to be introspective about their successes and their mistakes. At the same time, it demands of their instructors “something other than Power-Point slides or an eloquently delivered lecture,” as no teacher can predict in advance the questions their students’ experiences will raise. In service-learning, students and teacher must act together as a team of motivators, problem solvers, and change agents. While most of its personal vignettes come from service-learners who have worked as mentors in elementary schools, the book also includes a chapter in which coauthor Michele Gourley describes at length her experiences at a faith-based health clinic in Honduras. In offering such stories—along with a succinct introduction to basic concepts, an assessment of how service-learners can effect transformational change, and project examples—this text will not only prepare students for the adventures of service-learning but also aid professors and administrators tasked with developing service-learning courses and programs.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press


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pp. iii

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pp. vii-viii

Service-learning engages university students with people from backgrounds often different from their own. In service-learning, students and a local partner co-create answers to problematic situations, and each learns from the other. Experiencing Service-Learning is a book primarily for undergraduate students about to encounter service-learning and for professors wishing to ...

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pp. 1-5

Service-learning is serving while learning, acting to assist and benefit others while feeding one’s own mind and heart. Those words are vague, and they obscure the exciting experiences that university students can have through participation in a service-learning program. Service-learning cannot be con- strained by a tightly bound definition. Service-learning is open ended, limited ...

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1. Stepping into a New Culture

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pp. 7-22

Peter Vaill (1989) defines culture as “a system of attitudes, actions, and artifacts that endures over time and operates to produce among its members a relatively unique common psychology” (p. 147). Culture is absorbed and transmitted intuitively; we usually do not think about it. Only when we bump up against people who behave in ways we do not understand and perhaps do...

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2. Concept Learning: Thinking-Skill Level, Experiential Learning, and Action Theory

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pp. 23-34

“Service-learning” means “serving while learning” or “learning while serving.” Serving is not abstract but concrete: one serves specific others. The focus is on the act and the server in relation to another. The server provides knowledge or skills, and the other also has gifts to share, gifts that may be less...

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3. Service-Learning in an Inner-City Elementary School

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pp. 35-47

In 1998, coauthor Robert Cunningham commenced using mentoring in an inner-city elementary school as the service-learning project. Each college student assists a teacher for fourteen hours during the course of the semester. This may be working one-on-one with a child on reading or math, teaching specific concepts, or any other task that may assist the teacher. Some students ...

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4. Service-Learners Reflect

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pp. 49-92

Action science focuses on practical problems, and the linkage between theory and practice is important. Theory should be practical: Is service-learning a useful idea that benefits client-groups and generates student learning? Does service-learning offer practical knowledge? What kind of learning occurs Action science seeks “double-loop” learning (Argyris et al, 1985), learning ...

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5. Serving and Learning in Tegucigalpa

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pp. 93-120

Two years after studying various subjects, I had forgotten which composer went with which phase of music, what king ruled which country during a certain time period, or how to successfully identify an unknown chemical using principles of organic chemistry. However, I still remembered one thing: the principles of service-learning. These principles were still vividly etched in...

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6. Service Learning and Transformational Change

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pp. 121-131

Some students initiate or are involved in transformational change projects. They seek what Argyris, Putnam, and Smith (1985, ch. 2) call “double loop learning.” Unlike single loop learning, which improves the level of information that one transmits but doesn’t change organizational values, double loop learning changes organizational values, and that is what some students may seek to ...

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7. Implementation Challenges

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pp. 133-147

Service-learning complements theoretical knowledge with practical opportunities and challenges. 1 These opportunities provide a richer learning experience for students, furthering their personal values and combining service to the community with research. However, significant obstacles face the professor who seeks to involve students in the community: sometimes ...

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pp. 149-151

Community service, outreach, practica, and internships emphasize doing; experiential learning and action learning involve doing and thinking. Service learning encompasses facets of all of these, in that service-learners perform academically based community service, emphasizing both service and...

Appendix A. The Passion for Service: Where Does it Come From?

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pp. 153-164

Appendix B. Service-Learning Project Examples

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pp. 165-166


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pp. 167-169


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pp. 171-173

E-ISBN-13: 9781572337954
E-ISBN-10: 1572337958
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572337589
Print-ISBN-10: 1572337583

Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 0 illustrations
Publication Year: 2011