Using Service-Learning Field Placements to Radically Transform Teacher Education From the Inside Out: The College Pals Model

Using Service-Learning Field Placements to Radically Transform Teacher Education From the Inside Out: The College Pals Model

Jennifer Carlson (Hamline University, USA) and Jean Strait (Hamline University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4041-0.ch020
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The current educational landscape is more complex and demanding than ever. The integration of service-learning into teacher education programs increase opportunities for intersectionality of curriculum, the development of cultural humility, use of contact theory, and hands-on learning. The partnership between an urban liberal arts university and suburban school district resulted in the College Pals model. The College Pals model acknowledges that pre-service teachers need to learn how to navigate systems that are familiar to their students in order to positively impact student learning and educational experiences. Service-learning as a pedagogical approach enhances instructional readiness through earlier opportunities to work in and connect to classrooms prior to their matriculated field experiences and provide an effective integration of community-oriented approaches to teacher education.
Chapter Preview


The landscape of public education in the United States has never been more complex and demanding than today. Issues include high levels of poverty, increased violence and a lack of connection to the community as well as little to no attention paid to addressing the specialized needs of students (Godinez, Spies and Mariani, 2016.) During 2014-2015, 67% of students were attending an urban school which was in a high or mid-high poverty status, meaning that 75 to 90% of these students attending received free and/or reduced lunch (The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce, 2016). Also, in that same school year, there were approximately 486,400 non-fatal violent victimizations among students 12 to 18 years of age and there was a 13% increase in the number of students who qualified for special education services (Kena, Hussar, McFarland, de Brey., Musu-Gillette, Wang, Zhang, Rathbun, Wilkinson-Flicker, Diliberti, Barmer, Bullock Mann, and Dunlop Velez, 2016). The nation’s nearly 4 million teachers must face these troubling complexities yet may not have adequate preparation to confront them through traditional teacher education programs. Students currently enrolled in teacher preparation programs may receive adequate training for navigating issues of poverty, violence, or special needs through traditional coursework and experiences.

There continues to be a recruitment gap in preservice teachers of color entering the programs to become teachers and the mismatch of between students of color and White teachers in classrooms continues to exist. In 2012, 44% of all elementary and secondary students were students of color, while teachers of color stood at 17.3%. The number of teachers of color has increased only 4.8% in the last 30 years, thus the number of P-12 enrolled students of color increased dramatically and continues to rise (Ingersol and Owens, 2017). Race and ethnicity do not predict whether a teacher will succeed or fail, rather the lack of teacher diversity reflects a substantial opportunity gap for students of color.

Current models of teacher education training have not addressed the changes in the larger society, nor the learning needs of the P-12 students. Persistence of white privilege in the teaching workforce, institutionalized racism and the predominant use of Eurocentric curriculum amplify the critical need for more teachers of color and culturally proficient teachers (Dyce and Owusu-Ansah, 2016). As a result, instructional practices and related educational experiences must be developed “that address and are responsive to students' varying needs because of the range of differences that students bring into the classroom and because of the social context in which students live and learn” (Milner, 2012, p. 694). Given the shift in demographics of the public school population, teacher education programs must also provide training for all teachers to examine how their own experiences and beliefs affect interactions with racially and ethnically diverse communities and students (Ingersol and Owens, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Clinical Experience: A teaching/learning experience based in a school setting.

Cultural Humility: Using humility while engaging in self-reflection about culture for life-long learning.

Service-Learning: An educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience while meeting societal needs.

Preservice Teachers (Teacher Candidates): Students who are in a guided period of supervised teaching prior to obtaining initial licensure.

Critical Reflection: An extension of critical thinking, teachers review their practice and ideas by asking probing questions.

Community Partnerships: School and or university collaborations with surrounding community organizations.

Diversity: The inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

Intersectionality: Cultural categories that intersect and/or overlap, reinforcing one another.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: