Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Talking Points 5: In the Service of What?

1. "For Dewey, this ideal was the essence of democratic education. He argued for the creation of 'miniature communities' in which students could work together to identify and respoind to problems they confronted. The value of this approach extended far beyond the service students might provide for the elderly or the ways they might clean up the environment. It lay in the analytic and academic skills, the moral acuity, and the social sensitivity they would develop as they learned to assess critically and respond collectively to authentic problems."

I liked this quote because it gave other benefits of taking part in a service learning project. Not only does this project allow students to help out others in need, but the learning benefits are crucial. Usually people volunteer only to help those in need. Most have no idea that they are sharpening their analytic and academic skills, moral acuity, and social sensitivity. However, I partly feel that people should not be volunteering for this reason, but because they want to help out others. These are just added benefits and even if people do not know that they are getting them, they will begin to change. I agree that this makes service learning projects all the more beneficial to students.

2. "Just as the difference between change and charity may provide an important conceptual distinction for those analyzing service learning curricula, it is helpful to distinguish the moral, political, and intellectual goals that movitivate those who support service learning."

I liked the table of service learning goals that was beneath this quote. It made it much easier for me to understand the difference between change and charity. Those who take part in a service learning project learn morally, politically, and intellectually. These goals are important in noting what the person got out of doing this project. I found this quote interesting because I never realized that there was a big difference between charity and change. I feel that the majority of people fall under the category of charity, and more should strive toward change.

3. "... has led some such as John Brisco, a leader in the field, to label service learning 'the Trojan horse of school reform'. The service component may help us get the support needed for implementation, he argues, but its real impact is seen in its ability to promote powerful learning environments."

Service learning projects have become noted as worthy of schools to participate in because of the "service component". Those who are involved with making the choice to make a school active in service learning decided to go ahead with it because it would be helpful to the surrounding environment, students would be "making a difference". However, John Brisco argues that the most important part of service learning is deeper than that. He believes that students can learn a great deal from taking part in these projects. The only reason service learning projects have been able to get their foot in the door is because of the service itself, not because of the benefits of learning. I loved the metaphor of "the Trojan hourse of school reform". It really helps people to understand that many are tending to overlook the importance of true learning.

This article stressed the importance of service learning projects in school curriculums. It gave a case study of two particular service learning projects. It gave reasons for taking part in service learning projects and explained the differences of what people consider the most important part of service learning. Although this wasn't my favorite article I didn't mind reading it. I liked that I could relate to it because I am in the process of taking part in a service learning project. The article gave me insight to the added benefits that I was unaware of besides helping the students and teacher and learning how to act in the classroom. One of my favorite parts of the article was the part describing the difference between charity and change. From personal experiences, I feel that many people volunteer or give money is for charity. It is almost like they feel guilty if they do not help out those in need. Until recently I never realized how much I enjoy volunteering and how it helps me to grow as a person. I don't think this article relates directly to any of the other articles that we have read, but if I had to choose one in particular I would choose Johnson. However, I feel that it relates in some way to all of the articles we have read and to everything we have been studying up to this point in class. The other articles will help us learn to respect others and to deal with situations while taking part in service learning projects.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent points, Brianna, and a great discussion of the Charity/Change issues we talked about in class!