Sunday, March 22, 2015

"In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Kahne and Westheimer talk about community service  and volunteering in the schools. They brought up many great points that really made me wonder about my community service and service learning I have done. There were a few quotes that stood out to me.

1. "Educators and legislators alike maintain that service learning can improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all level of schooling" (page  2).
-This quote is saying that many people believe service learning can help improve the community. Personally I think that having a college student/ volunteer go to a classroom can be beneficial for the time they are there. The person can help the teacher with lessons and they can provide extra help to the students who need it. Also I think that a volunteer or college student can't provide many "rich educational experiences for students", since they are still learning themselves. I'm not saying that service learning is a bad thing, but it does have it's negatives along many positives as well.

2."Moreover, it is important to acknowledge that the choice of service learning activities--like the choice of any curricular activities--has political dimensions" (page 12).
-This quote is pointing out that service learning is a political thing. Many people do it because they are required to. The people that make service learning a requirement are trying to teach "students the importance of charity"(page 12). The service learners are sent to schools that are usually very diverse and are struggling with poverty so they can learn the importance of helping out. To me, this seems like the people in power are trying to help the schools in need without using the money that is necessary. As Jonathan Kozal would say they "are putting a band-aid on a broken leg"(they aren't really helping).

3. " This experience and others like it, quite common in the literature of service learning, emphasize charity more than change"(page 7).
-I loved this quote from the article, it really stood out to me. I agree with this quote 100%. From what I have noticed, service learning is all about the people going and helping out at a school in need. The people they are sending are still learning themselves, so how much can they really help with? Schools  that have students suffering from poverty, need money. They need to be able to have the proper materials for their students, since the students can't afford them themselves. Yes, having people come in and help is a wonderful thing but that's charity and that's only temporary. The school needs change and something a little more long term.

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