Doing Service-Learning on the Ground in Diverse K-12 Communities: The Critical Importance of Being There

Doing Service-Learning on the Ground in Diverse K-12 Communities: The Critical Importance of Being There

D. Gavin Luter (Wisconsin Campus Compact, USA) and Robert F. Kronick (University of Tennessee – Knoxville, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2900-2.ch013
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This chapter is about designing service-learning and gives voice to college students engaging in service along with children and families who attend a culturally diverse urban Title One school. The various settings presented in this chapter show the numerous options open to service-learners in the University Assisted Community School. Engagement in this program realizes that schools with low resources have communities with low resources and communities with low resources have schools with low resources.
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Service-Learning In Brief

Service-learning by its very nature is connected to a course: middle school, high school, or college. Readings are tested in the field, and theory and practice advance through this integration. Through this integration, the teaching/learning of service-learning leads to a stronger research agenda for faculty. All of this activity is synergistic and makes service-learning a dynamic field.

Service-learning has three critical components: integration, reciprocity, and reflection (Kronick, Cunningham, & Gourley, 2011). These components are indicators of differences between service-learning and volunteering. Integration is the crossing and mutual influence of theory and practice. Theory can drive practice, and practice can reshape theory. In the seminal work The Looking Glass Self, Cooley (1972) found that people get a sense of who they are from the reflections they get from others.

Reciprocity is how service-learners absorb experiences from and are informed by the community partners with whom they engage, resulting in learning that is circular rather than linear. Stories in this chapter illustrate how university students learn from K-5 elementary students and how those elementary students learn from the university students. This reciprocal learning is an exciting phenomenon and is a privilege for the professors who engage in service-learning teaching.

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