Problematizing Service-Learning

ProblematizingProblematizing Service-Learning: Critical Reflections for Development and Action
Edited by Trae Stewart, University of Central Florida
and Nicole Webster, Pennsylvania State University
Interest in and research on civic engagement and service-learning have increased exponentially.  In this rapid growth,efforts have been made to institutionalize pedagogies of engagement across both K-12 and higher education.  As a result,increased positive attention has been complemented equally by well-founded critiques complicating experientialapproaches’ claims and questioning if institutional, financial, and philosophical commitment is warranted.  A key com-plaint from these critical voices is the tightly woven, protective insular core in the field of service-learning.  This claim isnot unfounded, nor necessarily bad.
Initial efforts to legitimize service-learning and other forms of community-basededucation required group cohesion.  The concern, however, is that the initial group cohesion has led to groupthinkwherein group members have avoided critical analysis and evaluation.  This book aims to prevent groupthink within thefield of service-learning by allowing for the examination of effective alternatives by new voices who can serve as “critical evaluators” from within the field itself.

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