A review of social justice focused service-learning research and implications for future research
Rebecca McNamara, Ph.D. Candidate, Western Michigan University [beckymc11@yahoo.com]


Keywords: Social justice, literature review, research methods

Track: Theoretical or conceptual frameworks to advance research

Format: Poster presentation
Date & time: Friday 3:20-4:30
Location: Salon 4 / Salon 9

Multiple models of service-learning practice are found in the literature. They include Morton’s (1995) charity, project, and social change models, Mitchell’s (2007, 2008) traditional and critical service-learning models, and Butin’s (2007, 2010) four conceptualizations of service learning. Each model identifies a form of service-learning with a social justice focus. A small but growing body of empirical research has examined outcomes of social justice focused service learning. This poster presentation will outline these three models of service learning practice, offer examples of research on social justice focused service learning, and suggest implications for future research.

This poster presentation is a result of a literature review by the presenter. The goal of the review was to describe different conceptualizations of service-learning practice found in the literature and to review empirical studies of social justice focused service learning where outcomes for undergraduate students were examined. It was found that the majority of empirical research has focused on traditional forms of service-learning and very few empirical studies have examined the outcomes of social justice focused service-learning. There are many research opportunities to further understand the impact of social justice focused service-learning. Specific recommendations include exploring longitudinal effects of social justice focused service-learning for students, comparing outcomes against traditional service-learning, understanding factors that contribute to positive learning environments, examining the impact for community partners, and exploring the institutional support for this type of service-learning.

Butin, D. W. (2007). Justice-learning: Service-learning as justice-oriented education. Equity and Excellence in Education, 40(2), 177-183.

Butin, D. W. (2010). Service-learning in theory and practice. New York, NY: Palgrave & MacMillan.

Cipolle, S. B. (2010). Service-learning and social justice: Engaging students in social change. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Einfeld, A., & Collins, D. (2008). The relationships between service-learning, social justice, multicultural competence, and civic engagement. Journal of College Student Development, 49(2), 95-109.

Glennon, F. (2004). Experiential learning and social justice action: An experiment in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Teaching Theology and Religion, 7(1), 30-37.

Kendall, J. C. (1990). Combining service and learning: An introduction. In J. C. Kendall and Associates (Eds.), Combining service and learning: A resources book for community and public service (pp. 1-37). Raleigh, NC: National Society for Internships and Experiential Education.

Kiely, R. (2004). A chameleon with a complex: Searching for transformation in international service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spring, 5-20.

Kiely, R. (2005). A transformative learning model for service-learning: A longitudinal case study. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spring, 5-22.

King, J. T. (2004). Service-learning as a site for critical pedagogy: A case of collaboration, caring, and defamiliarization across borders. Journal of Experiential Education, 26(3), 121-137.

Mitchell, T. D. (2007). Critical service-learning as social justice education: A case study of the citizen scholars program. Equity & Excellence in Education, 40(2), 101-112.

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

Morton, K. (1995). The irony of service: Charity, projects and social change in service learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 2, 19-32.

Schamber, J. F., & Mahoney, S. L. (2008). The development of political awareness and social justice citizenship through community-based learning in a first-year general education seminar. Journal of General Education, 57(2), 75-99. doi:10.1353/jge.0.0016

Wang, Y., & Rodgers, R. (2006). Impact of service-learning and social justice education on college students' cognitive development. NASPA Journal, 43(2), 316-337.

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