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A Value Added Model of Service Learning in Political Science Courses
Unformatted Document Text:  journals. We would add a third element to this developmental model: students also need to develop specific civic skill that enable students to “practice” service as student- researchers who are trained to collect and analyze knowledge that is important to the community. Such skills as survey instrument design, data analysis and group moderation are all very sought after by both local governments and civic organizations. Therefore personal development of individual student-citizens should also include the kind of practical skills that enables him or her to serve a vital function in the community. 2. SERVICE LEARNING AS COUMMUNITY BUILDING The emphasis the developmental model is on the cultivation of students’ intellectual and civic dispositions. In this regard, service is useful as a way of stimulating learning in students involved in service projects. But service learning itself can have a salutary effect on the creation of community and democratic dialogue. Dewey, of course, understood that the development of civic skills was not meant only to benefit the individual, but also for its value in generating community and democracy. Service learning can contribute to the cultivation of the associational life that has been the subject of analysis from Tocqueville to Putnam. Service learning can provide a practical occasion for students to learn about the crucial role played by voluntary associations in American society, hence into the inner workings of civil society. Such experiences provide students with the insights into the democratic orientation and skills that arise from people working together on common projects: social trust, norms of reciprocity and cooperation, and the capacity to transcend narrowly conceived points of views and interests (cf Robert Putnam). Involvement in 11

Authors: Borick, Christopher. and Gambino, Giacomo.
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journals. We would add a third element to this developmental model: students also need
to develop specific civic skill that enable students to “practice” service as student-
researchers who are trained to collect and analyze knowledge that is important to the
community. Such skills as survey instrument design, data analysis and group moderation
are all very sought after by both local governments and civic organizations. Therefore
personal development of individual student-citizens should also include the kind of
practical skills that enables him or her to serve a vital function in the community.
2. SERVICE LEARNING AS COUMMUNITY BUILDING
The emphasis the developmental model is on the cultivation of students’ intellectual
and civic dispositions. In this regard, service is useful as a way of stimulating learning in
students involved in service projects. But service learning itself can have a salutary
effect on the creation of community and democratic dialogue. Dewey, of course,
understood that the development of civic skills was not meant only to benefit the
individual, but also for its value in generating community and democracy. Service
learning can contribute to the cultivation of the associational life that has been the subject
of analysis from Tocqueville to Putnam.
Service learning can provide a practical occasion for students to learn about the
crucial role played by voluntary associations in American society, hence into the inner
workings of civil society. Such experiences provide students with the insights into the
democratic orientation and skills that arise from people working together on common
projects: social trust, norms of reciprocity and cooperation, and the capacity to transcend
narrowly conceived points of views and interests (cf Robert Putnam). Involvement in
11


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