Teacher Education, Diversity, and Community Engagement in Liberal Arts Colleges

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The introduction to Section III presents concepts that, to this point in the volume, receive little attention, including deficit beliefs pertaining to marginalized communities, white privilege, racism, and unconscious bias. In presenting Section III, Strait offers a short primer of these notions and positions their relevance to service-learning.

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Bocci picks up this conversation in Chapter 9 through a judicious reframing of service-learning based on her experience with Participatory Action Research PAR. What is noteworthy about this chapter is its in-depth analysis of three specific critiques that Bocci argues need to be taken seriously if service-learning is to move toward criticality in more than a superficial way.

Together, these highlighted chapters face systemic issues of power and privilege embedded in service-learning scholarship. The second strength of this edited volume extends a social justice-oriented dialogue through a focus on embracing relationships and collaboration. I take it to mean an embrace of others, in addition to an act of turning-toward; in the case of this book, it is exemplified through a diversity of disciplinary and theoretical approaches to service-learning for social justice. Chapter 2, for example, is a multi-voiced reflection on social justice service-learning in teacher education.

It is a creatively generated conversation amongst the five co-authors, practitioners, and students who elucidate the impact of a service-learning field component within a teacher education program. In particular, this article is valuable in its illustration of specific social justice concepts embedded in student placements. For example, service-learners are engaged in critical conversations around the factory model of education, the justice-oriented implications of systemic emphases on standardized test scores, and, perhaps most importantly, the many ways teachers and service-learners are themselves complicit in ongoing inequities.

The dialogues shared in this chapter exemplify the power of embracing one another in discussions of social justice. Extending the use of critical service-learning for teacher education, Chapter 7 offers findings from research on a fascinating service-learning program that partners pre-service teachers with local Hispanic families for a cultural and linguistic immersion experience. Overall, this chapter contributes to an important, ongoing conversation that remains committed to examining the fluid, shifting, and often unpredictable student outcomes of service-learning.

Unlike the majority of previous chapters up to this point, this chapter delves into a study of service-learning in the context of high school social studies. Their findings suggest that critical reflection combined with a critical pedagogical framework can lead students to increased desire for meaningful service and a deeper understanding of the roots of inequities within their community.

The final section of the book consists of four chapters that explore issues of community, communication, critical reflection, and cultural humility. I suspect these are the key themes that the editors would like to see readers reflect upon, and the final four chapters do much to nurture this. Their deeper look at reciprocity in both the literature and their own institutional context offers important considerations for any program looking to strengthen its socially just engagement. They arrive at this by analyzing findings from both students and community partners involved in a social justice-oriented service-learning course in a Canadian teacher education program.

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The study also reveals that community partners, in turn, often see their work with education students as laying a foundation for future alliances between the schools and social service agencies. While this chapter would have been more aptly placed in Section II, which focuses on teacher education, it nonetheless offers valuable insights into the relationships forged between community agencies and pre-service teachers. Having discussed some key strengths, I now turn my attention to a supportive critique meant to strengthen the future work of service-learning for social justice.

Social justice, as an eponymous term for this volume, deserves to be unpacked, explored, troubled, deconstructed, and named. Although this is done — and done well — in some of the chapters, I was hoping for a thoughtful conversation from the editors up front, or in some of the section introductions. What does social justice mean and to whom?

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Whose version is being used and why? What are the explicit and implicit goals of social justice in service-learning? What theoretical frameworks underlie the term and the practice?

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How does the use of social justice as a goal in service-learning or education generate the potential for harm? What are some historical considerations embedded in social justice, and how can they inform the future of our work? When such questions are left un-asked, and when the meaning of a loaded term is left unexamined, it can dilute its power to affect change and further play into the hands of a normative construction that supports the status quo.

The good news, however, is that this volume has done a great deal to engage in some of the conversations that our field so desperately needs. As a supportive scholar working with similar values as the editors and authors, my own future work is made better through this book, as I can learn from what has been included, and interrogate some of the questions that were omitted.

One chapter that demonstrates a deep analysis of the intersection of service-learning and social justice is Chapter 14 by Hussain. It takes a critical look at the history of service-learning and expands upon it in great depth. This reminder highlights the message from Brown that we are not necessarily witnessing a resurgence in social injustices, but that we could instead be uncovering injustices that were not previously as visible.

Hussain does a brilliant job of bringing this history to bear on her own research, while also imploring liberal arts colleges to become more critical as a way to truly empower the learning process. The reason I found this book so enjoyable to read is its carefully chosen diversity of authors, all of whom offer different perspectives from their teaching experiences, and all of whom are patently invested in a critical exploration of the service-learning field.

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Depending on the readership, there is something uniquely valuable for anyone interested in social justice-oriented service-learning. Among those who can benefit are faculty members, researchers, practitioners, community partners, students, and teacher educators. Researchers, for example, can gain new methodological insights from authors who employ case studies Chapter 6 , participatory action research Chapter 9 , mixed methods Chapter 1 , content analysis Chapter 5 , critical ethnographic inquiry Chapter 13 , and a variety of other qualitative methods that have a social justice bent.

For teacher educators, there is no shortage of inspiration, as Chapters 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 13 all gesture to innovative and critically-informed strategies for engaging future teachers to be socially just in their approach to curriculum and pedagogy. For those readers interested in a strong theoretical grounding for social justice service-learning, this volume is a cornucopia of perspectives, with particularly strong arguments captured in Chapter 3 — examining feminist and critical theory — as well as in Chapter 9, with its insightful analysis of the potential misrepresentation of social justice.

Importantly, the volume includes chapters that would be of interest to any person invested in service-learning. As the contributors to this volume make abundantly clear, service-learning calls for epistemological openness, agility, and humility — characteristics doubly relevant in the context of social justice work. It sends readers a strong message that service-learning for social justice eludes capture in a universal set of principles or tidy categorization; rather, its richness is to be found in its complexity.

Her doctoral work examines critical hope and the interplay of emotion and power relations in a Ugandan service-learning program. Kari also conducted her master's research in schools and communities throughout Rwanda. Having spent the past three years researching, supporting, and developing service-learning programs at UBC, Kari is now co-editing the upcoming Handbook of Service-Learning for Social Justice.

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Quick search:. Order Current Issue. Volume 23 , Issue 2 , Spring Facing Power and Privilege At the heart of many conversations about social justice is the problematization of inequality and the examination of power and privilege. Name that Social Justice Social justice, as an eponymous term for this volume, deserves to be unpacked, explored, troubled, deconstructed, and named.

Conclusion The reason I found this book so enjoyable to read is its carefully chosen diversity of authors, all of whom offer different perspectives from their teaching experiences, and all of whom are patently invested in a critical exploration of the service-learning field.

How undergraduates are affected by service participation. The Journal of College Student Development, 39 3 , Bell, M. Theoretical foundations for social justice education.


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Explore Student Life. About Smith. More About Smith. Tools Mail Directory Portal Calendar. For Current Students. More News The New Smith. Alumnae Gateway. Give To Smith. You are here You are here Home Academics Faculty. All Faculty. Biography Lucy Mule is associate professor of education and child study and served as the inaugural faculty director of the now Jandon Center for Community Engagement at Smith College.

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