Thursday, March 20, 2014

In The Service Of What?

 In this article I decided to pull some quotes that I thought was interesting and could elaborate a little more on. In the beginning of this article it was confusing to me because I wasn't fully aware of the difference between the "charity" and "change" types of service learning. After reading the article over again I realized the differences and began to develop a keen sense of the differences between the two. From my understanding, my view on the service learning charity could teach students important values and possibly change their views, in of course a positive way. In this article, both Kahne and Westheimer explain that a music class went to a school in and area that performed poverty from the attending students. These students talked about the school that was located in a poor neighborhood and how scared they were for the things they thought they knew about the students who went there. This also connected me to Inspiring minds in the Providence Schools. My first day I was very nervous and scared for I didn't know what to expect. The students in the music class performed a service and ended up learning from this. The original learning was done at the school in the poor neighborhood and it was continued while they ended up discussing their experience in class. I personally believe that if students are demanded and have an expectation to perform community service, they are in fact completing the service portion of service learning, but only partially.

 "As is commonly the case with new policy initiatives, however, more attention had been focused on moving forward than on asking where we are headed"
This is an important quote in the article because it shows the articles main point. Most policies start without the planning that they deserve. An example of this happened in my high school. Throughout the year several times the new graduation requirement was changed because it was not planned very well. This was frustrating to many students because teachers or administrators were unable to answers questions that students had because of the poor planning. This was similar to Khane, and Westheimer when they wrote about service learning and how quickly it entered the education system without an effective learning strategy which resulted into not being well-developed.

"In Atlanta students simply write a 500-word essay describing their experiences. They never discuss their experiences as part of a course. In fact, many of the major legislative proposals have a minimal reflection component- sometimes for fear that such an orientation would diminish the focus on altruism" 

I personally believe that Christensen would not like this. With the policies that with held in this quote, the students are taking action by volunteering in their community but they are not reflecting upon their experiences in a meaningful way. Performing and action and then writing about it does not compare to the what the student learned in a meaningful way of their experiences. In order to make it meaningful, their needs to be a class discussion which shows progress of learning. After doing a project it should not stop with just the project but should be continued with a reflection. During the reflection process it could be difficult for it could make or break a project but when it is being forced on a student it is most likely going to break it.

"In the service of what?" is a question that inevitably merits the attention of teachers, policy markers, and academics who take seriously the idea that learning and service reinforce each other and should come together in America's schools"

The purpose for writing this article, I believe, was to elaborate on the importance of answering the question, "In the service of what?" If we continue to take action upon service learning without answering this question, then their is a possibility that we could end up with strategies to incorporate service learning into the curriculum. For example, Mr. Johnson's project ended with a few unsuccessful results. The argument that the author tries to portray to their readers is that people who enjoy service learning should realize that service learning becomes a very effective method before you implement it.

Below is an article that I found online about service learning and all the great things that come from it. I found this really interesting and thought it was very realateable to what we read!

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