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A Value Added Model of Service Learning in Political Science Courses
Unformatted Document Text:  interest in developing moral consensus by seeking a common good through common projects. Dewey provides the framework for a model of service learning as a developmental process. By confronting problems in the concrete, lived experience of a community, students are compelled to consider both the assumptions and consequences of their own opinions, perspectives and ideology. This kind of transformation needs not be thought of as a conversion of political ideology (of conservatives into liberals or vice versa); rather, service in community problem-solving, according to David Cooper, aims generating critical reflection: the student learns to submit “political beliefs to the stimulus of critical reflection, not a political litmus.” The student “learns to formulate new questions about old habits of thought. He learns the important difference between an opinion passionately felt and powerfully held and a problem that needs to be solved and for which answers must be sought.” (Cooper, in Rhoads and Howard, p. 51). There are two important design implications of this developmental model of service learning. First, students must be directly involved in the design of the service learning project. Battistoni describes this requirement: “The focus on participatory democracy and equal citizenship should also cause educators to make genuine student input central to the service learning program’s design and management. Students should play an active role in planning the program and serve as leaders in it not only because students have good ideas and can recruit and organize other students, but also because active participation and involvement in service learning can help student learn the lessons of democracy….” (Battistoni, p. 5). Second important element: reflective component must be directly integrated into the service learning course through reflective essays and 10

Authors: Borick, Christopher. and Gambino, Giacomo.
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interest in developing moral consensus by seeking a common good through common
projects.
Dewey provides the framework for a model of service learning as a
developmental process. By confronting problems in the concrete, lived experience of a
community, students are compelled to consider both the assumptions and consequences
of their own opinions, perspectives and ideology. This kind of transformation needs not
be thought of as a conversion of political ideology (of conservatives into liberals or vice
versa); rather, service in community problem-solving, according to David Cooper, aims
generating critical reflection: the student learns to submit “political beliefs to the stimulus
of critical reflection, not a political litmus.” The student “learns to formulate new
questions about old habits of thought. He learns the important difference between an
opinion passionately felt and powerfully held and a problem that needs to be solved and
for which answers must be sought.” (Cooper, in Rhoads and Howard, p. 51).
There are two important design implications of this developmental model of service
learning. First, students must be directly involved in the design of the service learning
project. Battistoni describes this requirement: “The focus on participatory democracy
and equal citizenship should also cause educators to make genuine student input central
to the service learning program’s design and management. Students should play an
active role in planning the program and serve as leaders in it not only because students
have good ideas and can recruit and organize other students, but also because active
participation and involvement in service learning can help student learn the lessons of
democracy….” (Battistoni, p. 5). Second important element: reflective component must
be directly integrated into the service learning course through reflective essays and
10


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