Leveraging Partnerships to Support Community-Based Learning in a College of Education

Leveraging Partnerships to Support Community-Based Learning in a College of Education

Danielle E. Dani, Min Lun Wu, Sara L. Hartman, Greg Kessler, Theda Marie Gibbs Grey, Chang Liu, Julie Barnhart Francis
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1306-4.ch003
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This chapter presents a model for leveraging community engagement to support learning in higher education institutions. The model capitalizes on bi-directional and mutually beneficial school-university and university-community partnerships. It purposefully attends to local societal problem-solving. The model uses collaborative and problem-based learning as pedagogical approaches to promote interdisciplinary learning in and about the local and regional community. The chapter provides examples of how this model was applied in third space; utilized the distributed expertise of faculty, students, and community organizations and professionals; and developed technology-enhanced products and processes that impact formal and informal learning of individuals in P-24 and beyond.
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Institutions of Higher Education in the United States are committed to serving both the student and university population as well as the wider community in which the institutions are located. Through active engagement, institutions have the potential to serve the economic and cultural needs of a region by educating future citizens, teachers, and leaders (Fitzgerald, Bruns, Sonka, Furco, & Swanson, 2012). The Carnegie Foundation defines active community engagement as “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnerships and reciprocity” (Swearer Center at Brown University, n.d.). It addresses pressures to strengthen local engagement (Trickett & Espino 2004; Kellogg Commission 1999) and simultaneously establish global presence and impact (Douglass, King, & Feller 2009). While these seemingly distinct imperatives are often positioned in competition with each other, Silka, Teisl, and Settele (2015) argue that effective engagement must locate and advance “integrative opportunities between the local and the global” (p. 89).

In colleges of education, local approaches create spaces for learning about the expertise and funds of knowledge present in the university-community context (Moll et al., 1992) and support the development of educators’ professional identity and justice-oriented teaching philosophies (Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016). Local opportunities can also provide a structure for conceptualizing and operationalizing integrative opportunities for engagement by nurturing commitments to educating all citizens to think critically about both local and global issues (Lieberman & Hoody, 1998; Powers, 2004). Glocality, a construct that can support integrative engagement, promotes the development of future citizens who can participate in local, national, and international contexts (Banks, 2007; Brooks & Normore, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 2007). Robertson (1995) proposed the term “glocal” to describe how global and local forces act simultaneously in the field of economics. The term has since transcended the field of economics and is used to convey the importance of local contexts to understanding global ones, and the importance of global contexts to understanding local ones.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interdisciplinary Approach: Collaboration among two or more academic disciplines to investigate a central problem, inquiry, or theme.

Informal Learning: Educational opportunities that occur outside of traditional classroom and/or school settings.

Literacy: The ability to use reading and writing skills to effectively and productively function in society.

Problem-Based Learning: A curricular and instructional approach that engages learners in problem-solving centered on authentic problems from practice.

Teacher Education: Formal policies, procedures, and curriculum that are designed and used to equip future teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that enable them to support student learning through instructional practices in elementary, middle, and secondary schools.

Educational Technology: A field in education that involves the use of various technologies to address instructional goals and objectives.

Adult Learning Theory: posits that adult learners are intrinsically motivated and ready to learn by using the knowledge and experiences gained during their lifetime to shape future learning.

Augmented Reality (AR): A form of educational technology that allows users to superimpose digital content on the physical world to facilitate interactions with the natural surroundings with the benefit of additional information, including images, video, text and other media.

Community engagement: A reciprocal collaboration between universities and their larger communities centered on a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.

Collaborative Learning: An instructional approach that emphasizes student-centeredness, teamwork, and shared responsibility to the co-construction of knowledge and skills. Team members have defined roles, tasks and work together towards a common set of goals.

University-Community Partnerships: Collaborations that advance the mission and goals for each contributor through mutually beneficial strategies and outreach practices.

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