Sunday, October 27, 2013

Talking points #6


"Educators and legislators alike  maintain that service learning can improve the community and invigorate the classroom"

Service learning is a treat in  several ways. In some form, the idea of invigorating the classroom. School systems often have a common issue, that they lack anything dynamic or inclusive. By adding another element to the classroom you are forcing a certain milestone, often building a sense of community and establishing a sense of authenticity, making each class much more than that. It can improve the community both inside and outside of school by allowing the students to develop a sense of altruism.

"Many who currently advocate service learning consider its potential as a mean of promoting moral development"

Altruism is such an important trait to develop because it counters the concept of narcissism. One's mind cannot remain closed when exposure is forced to it. For example, the article mentions that upper-middle class students were assigned to visit a lower class elementary school. They imagined a whole different world, reminiscent of Kozol's impressions. They imagined violent children running around a dirty campus, expecting them to be rude, rough and noisy. What they found were attentive and responsive students. This reminded me of Johnson's privelege, power and difference in the way that such thoughts are often the result of society rather than the victims. The students that visited had only feared what they might find because those are the seeds that their parents and society had planted within them.

"Almost all discussions of service learning practices emphasize the importance of reflection"

It is scarcely argued that reflection is a bad thing because it gives already prejudice students the chance to find support for their  deep seeded hatreds and make stronger arguments. However, the concept of reflection is best paired with growth. Every example given in the article lists positive learning experiences, mentioning almost outright that they think higher of whichever group they spent time with.

Talking Points:

Despite the argument that reflection may have a negative outcome, does that mean that the service learning was a negative experience in that situation? No matter the position, it's worth considering that all examples of real life experience hold far more weight than whatever speculation based on media or negative emotions.


  1. Nick,
    I really enjoyed your hyperlink-the cycle of service learning, using the what, so what, now what questions. I’m not so sure altruism counters narcissism but it is a great tool of alleviating, at least for a bit, the thought of putting yourself first, which is fantastic, especially for young adults. The negative idea of reflection really bothers me but it is a valid point-it’s one of those things where I feel contradiction-a person should be allowed to have their own beliefs, even if we think they are seeded in hatred. I don’t anything wrong with reflecting-I think it’s actually quite illuminating and as you've mentioned, full of growth! I love the example of that class going to a bad neighborhood and having their assumptions challenged-it just goes to show you that you have to see it before you believe it!

  2. "Educators and legislators alike maintain that service learning can improve the community and invigorate the classroom" is also a quote that I used and I agree with you when you say that service learning ads an element to the classroom and helps with so much.