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A Value Added Model of Service Learning in Political Science Courses
Unformatted Document Text:  their respect for others, better able to appraise their own interests and those of the community they serve. The theoretical foundation of this view of service’s developmental role can be traced to Tocqueville who saw voluntary associations as a way of drawing individuals out of the narrow concerns of their private life and into the common interests of the local community. “Among democratic nations,” Tocqueville observed, “all citizens are independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another.” (II, p. 125; see also Battistoni; Barber) Service learning can provide the crucial opportunities for students to learn civic attitudes, dispositions, and skills that contribute not only to their own sense of efficacy, but to a commitment to engage in more social forms of problem-solving (Eyler and Gilles, pp 11-12; 151-164). Many proponents of service learning have been attracted to the theory of instrumental intelligence and democratic education put forth by John Dewey (Harkavy and Benson; David D. Cooper in Rhoads and Howard, pp. 11-20, 47-56). Dewey understood the importance of democratic schooling in the advancement of democratic citizens and public life. If schooling is to be successful in training students as citizens, then students themselves would have to be actively involved in shaping their own learning, especially the formation of the purposes and values shaping the curriculum. To this end, Dewey advocated educational reforms that sought to transform the classroom into a venue where free and open inquiry leads students to cultivate their own individuality. Not surprisingly, experiential learning is a key part of an educational process that develops 8

Authors: Borick, Christopher. and Gambino, Giacomo.
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their respect for others, better able to appraise their own interests and those of the
community they serve.
The theoretical foundation of this view of service’s developmental role can be traced
to Tocqueville who saw voluntary associations as a way of drawing individuals out of the
narrow concerns of their private life and into the common interests of the local
community. “Among democratic nations,” Tocqueville observed, “all citizens are
independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them
can oblige his fellow men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, become
powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another.” (II, p. 125; see also
Battistoni; Barber) Service learning can provide the crucial opportunities for students to
learn civic attitudes, dispositions, and skills that contribute not only to their own sense of
efficacy, but to a commitment to engage in more social forms of problem-solving (Eyler
and Gilles, pp 11-12; 151-164).
Many proponents of service learning have been attracted to the theory of instrumental
intelligence and democratic education put forth by John Dewey (Harkavy and Benson;
David D. Cooper in Rhoads and Howard, pp. 11-20, 47-56). Dewey understood the
importance of democratic schooling in the advancement of democratic citizens and public
life. If schooling is to be successful in training students as citizens, then students
themselves would have to be actively involved in shaping their own learning, especially
the formation of the purposes and values shaping the curriculum. To this end, Dewey
advocated educational reforms that sought to transform the classroom into a venue where
free and open inquiry leads students to cultivate their own individuality. Not
surprisingly, experiential learning is a key part of an educational process that develops
8


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