Reflections On Your Service Learning Experiences

Social justice service-learning asks those engaged in service to uncover the root causes that perpetuate the needs addressed by their service sites (Mitchell, 2007, p. 105)

For this project, post three (3) entries to your WebBlog that together synthesize your service learning experiences with other ED253 learning experiences. These posts are an exploration and demonstration of what you have been learning in ED253. Concepts that are introduced and studied in class are to be in dialogue with your reflections on your service learning experiences.

Assignment Due in class Tuesday 29 March (~750 words) 


Background

Real world experience for students through service to the community is important for many reasons including the need to bring important social services to the community especially where there are recognized gaps in underfunded government programs.

Another reason for service experiences is to enhance the learning, understanding and empathy of students engaging in service. It is assumed by many that through service, students often expand their critical awareness of societal inequalities and further their commitments to social justice and to take action in the world to effect real change.


Problem

At the same time, scholarship in this area has demonstrated that service learning experiences can actually exacerbate the cultural, economic and political biases of college students participating in service. 

Pedagogically, one means of addressing this is through self-reflection. Indeed, we do not learn so much through experience as we learn through thoughtful and engaged reflection on that experience. For this assignment, I invite your thoughtful and engaged self-reflection on your service learning experiences and the circumstances of those experiences, i.e. people, places, things, activities, etc.


OBJECTIVE & RATIONALE

Through self-reflection, the objective of this project is for you to synthesize your service learning experiences with your thoughtful consideration of political, economic, and/or socio-cultural challenges currently facing the field of education. These challenges are being considered through the readings, learning experiences and current connections we are engaging in as a classroom community.

Self-reflection is an attribute of professional practice. In this context, self-reflection is the process of constructing meaning by thinking about and interpreting the significance of lived experiences.

Your service learning reflective essay affords you an opportunity to write about, question and analyze your lived experiences in service as a preservice teacher, and to transform your beliefs and assumptions about teaching, learning and education into understanding and professional knowledge. 

Assignment Due in class Tuesday 29 March (~750 words)  


Please address in a series of interrelated blog posts, the following blogpost prompts*

*This is a research project and thus requires you to enter into a dialogue with assigned readings and other readings of your choosing as you reflect on the following prompts.


One | Questioning Your Experience

Recount your experiences in service associated with ED253, including descriptions of what, where, when, how, and why. In this post, place emphasis on why: why you, why what you are doing, and why where you are doing it? No really, why?

Additionally, what have you shared with the people you’ve met through service about your lived experiences, values and background?


Two | Questioning the People

Recount your experiences with the individual people you’re encountering in service. In this post, place emphasis on who: who are they and why are you sharing this service experience with them? While you are with them, what are they doing and why are they doing it?

Additionally, what have the people you’ve met through service shared with you about their lived experiences, values and background?


Three | Questioning Yourself and Your World

Discuss and analyze what you are learning about yourself, your beliefs and aspirations through service learning. Additionally, what is it about service learning that helps make this learning possible?


Selected Readings

Santiago-Ortiz, A. (2019). From Critical to Decolonizing Service-Learning: Limits and Possibilities of Social Justice-Based Approaches to Community Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning25(1), 43–54.

Latta, M., Kruger, T. M., Payne, L., Weaver, L., & VanSickle, J. L. (2018). Approaching Critical Service-Learning: A Model for Reflection on Positionality and Possibility. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement22(2), 31–55.

Mitton-Kükner, J., Nelson, C., and Desrochers, C. (2010). Narrative inquiry in service learning contexts: Possibilities for learning about diversity in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education26(5), 1162-1169.

Cairney, K., & Breen, A. V. (2017). Listening to Their Lives: Learning through Narrative in an Undergraduate Practicum Course. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning8(3), n3.

O’Meara, C. (2017). “I Reassessed Who I Am.” Critical Questions in Education, 8(3), 261–274.

Mitchell, T. D. (2008). Traditional vs. critical service learning: Engaging the literature to differentiate 2models. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 14, 50– 65.

Pompa, L. (2002). Service-learning as crucible: Reflections on immersion, context, power, and transformation. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 9(1), 67-76.