Sunday, October 27, 2013

In The Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning

In The Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning

For my blog this week I chose to reflect on three quotes from Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer's, In The Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning that impacted me the most. This being a difficult reading as well as a very political one, I had much trouble grasping the full concept however, was still able to manage three quotes that I believe reflect and explain the entire article.



Quote Number One:

"Educators and legislators alike maintain that service learning can improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling. Service learning makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students. Students in a service learning project might analyze and monitor the composition of nearby swamplands or produce an oral history of their community (Pg. 2)."
This quote was a quote that was found early in the reading and impacted me the most out of all of the material. Within this quote it is explained that service learning is a positive aspect within society and is very beneficial for students. I like how the authors explain the academic outcomes that service learning provides for students as well as ways that they can apply it in their real lives as well as in their community. This quote stuck out to me the most because in such a short paragraph it sums up exactly what service learning is and how well it benefits those who participate in it.
Quote Number Two: 
"Educators who emphasize change would clearly also value the educational benefits of this approach. To tap into the full power of service activities, however, these practitioners would want to combine critical inquiry with action. This process can transform students' understandings of both disciplinary knowledge and the particular social issues with which they are engaged (Pg. 6)."
I chose this quote for the sole reason that I greatly agree with it. When talking about educators who support change within their curriculum, the technique used would be disciplinary knowledge as well as engaging students in topics and issues that they are interested in. By doing this students greatly benefit from this within their education because they understand the importance of learning the material as well as have a sense of interest in the issue.
Quote Number Three:
"Similarly, many contemporary scholars focus on change over charity and argue that the lack of connection between individual rights and communal obligations within our culture has left us with a bankrupt sense of citizenship (Pg. 9).
When reading this particular quote I was a little confused at first and had to read it multiple times. Upon understanding it I was able to conclude there is a debate that service learning should be done with the mindset to change or for the conditional good of others, (charity). Within this quote it states that this confusion takes away our sense of citizenship depending on which way you feel, (Change vs. charity). In my opinion I do not see wrong in either way of service learning. In both change and charity students are benefiting in their education. It is hard to say which one is right because I see the good in both of them. This quote really made me think into the deeper meaning which made me remember Christensen's views about hidden meanings and hidden learning.
Points to discuss in class....
When doing service learning which point should we emphasize, charity or change? Are we wrong if we believe one more than the other?




  1. Hi Lauren,
    I felt the same way about this article! I thought that it was difficult to read and struggled my way through it. I thought that the quotes you talked about were very interesting and relevant to the authors' arguments. I liked your first quote and how you talked about how beneficial service learning can be.

  2. Hi Lauren,
    I to had difficulties comprehending these quotes however the last quotes you stated stuck out to me as well. I agree with you about change and charity having equal importance, when you help someone in need you make them feel good since you are taking the time to help them. At the same time you making some kind of difference in their life, whether it is a small difference such as helping them with homework or a making a stronger impact by believing in that person when they might not believe in themselves.

  3. Hi Lauren,

    I thought it was a more difficult read this week too, so it's nice to see I wasn't alone. :) I agree with you on your second quote, where you said that the students can benefit greatly from combining critical inquiry with action. As we saw in Christensen's article, it really has the potential to engage and motivate students. I think you pulled a great selection of quotes from the text.

    - Jamie

  4. Hi Lauren,

    After reading your article and everyone's comments, I'm happy to know I wasn't the only one who struggled with the reading. Part of me still wonders if I understood the article thoroughly. You chose three good quotes and your explanations were great.

  5. Hey Lauren,
    Great job on your blog this week and I also noticed that this reading was a little bit more challenging than the previous! However, I really enjoyed the quotes that you picked out as those were some of the ones that I highlighted while reading. I especially like quote number 2 about educators that emphasize change because I think that's really important and I agree when you said that the students really benefit from this!