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International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, v26 n1 p147-156 2014

Recent service-learning literature proposed a dichotomous framework for understanding service learning as either traditional service learning or critical service learning. Within this proposal, critical service learning is differentiated from traditional service learning as emphasizing social change, working to redistribute power, and seeking to develop authentic relationships, while traditional service learning does none of these. Traditional service learning is described as being of lower quality, more often resembling a charitable approach to engaging students with the community, without attention to the role of inequality in the social system, thereby presenting dangers to the community and the students that clearly outweigh the benefits. Rather than adopt the traditional vs. critical service learning paradigm that has been proposed, we suggest that criticality be considered in the construction of all service-learning courses and that faculty consider thoughtfully the level of criticality that is appropriate within a given course and academic discipline. Further, we suggest that criticality might be increased through more fully integrating critical thinking into service-learning courses.

Descriptors: Service Learning, Social Change, Critical Thinking, Educational Practices, Intellectual Disciplines

International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning. Web site:

Autor: Jones, Angela Lewellyn; Kiser, Pamela M.


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