Why service-learning (in composition) ? Bruce Herzberg (1994, 2000), Gere & Sinor (1997), Adler- Kassner, Crooks, & Watters (1997), Thomas Tai-Seale (1997) Thomas Deans (2000), Ball & Goodburn (2000), James. M. Dubinsky (2001), Danika Brown (2001), Ellen Cushman (2002) Paula Mathieu (2005), Dan Butin (2005), Maria Mikolchak (2006), Posey & Quinn (2009), Baca & Muro (2009)Baca & Muro (2009)
What is service-learning? ServiceService-learning is a method that connects teaching and learninglearning goals with community service, usually in the form of volunteering. Service-learning helps students participate within local communitiespromoting civic engagement and responsibilitythus building important connections and a greater understanding of those communities diverse needs. The educational component of service-learning comes in the form of having students reflect on their experiences. Service-learnings connection to freshmen composition is relatively recent, starting in the mid-nineteen-eighties.
One service-learning model Image retrieved from: http://www.servicelearningcourse.org/image/pyramid.gif, 2009http://www.servicelearningcourse.org/image/pyramid.gif
Another service-learning model Image retrieved from:http://www.berea.edu/celts/servicelearning/images/servicelearningdiagram.jpg, 2009
Assumptions Assumption 1: Freshmen will benefit from engaging in service-learning projects in the composition classroom during the course of a semester because it will expose them to a form of civic engagement through actual participation by volunteering at a local non-profit organization.
Assumptions continued… Assumption 2: The composition classroom is an appropriate place to incorporate service-learning projects because it allows students to view research and writing as being something more than just writing an essay. Writing is a social act.
Assumptions continued… Assumption 3: By incorporating service-learning projects into the composition classroom, students will learn how to effectively plan, schedule, set goals (strategies) when it comes to participating and researching about a local community (i.e. local non-profit organization).
Research questions How will students attitudes toward research and writing in a service-learning composition classroom change during the course of semester? What kinds of writing should students do in a service-learning composition classroom? What types of evaluation or grading rubrics should be used to evaluate or grade students writing in the service-learning composition classroom? What type of writing assignment sequence would be effective for incorporating service-learning projects in the composition classroom?
Goals Learn how to work together as a collaborative team Learn how to research and write together as a collaborative team Read and understand various aspects of service-learning and its purposes Volunteer at a local non-profit organization Engage in primary and secondary research Locate and explore perplexing and complex questions and issues within a local community Write and communicate and in various formats and conventions Learn how to evaluate self and peer performance within a collaborative team Learn how to evaluate writing
Objectives Write three reading responses to service-learning articles Conduct interviews with individuals connected to a local non- profit organization Make specific observations of the kinds of questions and issues that individuals deal with in a local non-profit organization Gather primary and secondary research into a document displaying this knowledge and information Volunteer at a local-nonprofit organization Collaborate with peers in a formal debate based on the research (primary and secondary) of the readings, discussion, and the experiences of volunteering (what does it take to be a volunteer)
Classroom structure Students work in groups of 2-3 Collaborative writing teams Writing team contracts Center for Civic Engagement (service-learning programs) Center for Civic Engagement Alternative writing assignment
Writing assignments Written responses to the four articles (a short summary and some in-depth reflection on the three readings, offering honest and constructive criticism on them) Background and history of the local non-profit organization (i.e. from the non-profit organizations website or from the literature they have produced) 1-2 semi-formal interviews with individuals associated with the local non-profit organization Reflection on the interviewees responses as well as on your volunteer experiences
Writing assignments continued… Formal debates over service- learning/community service/volunteering Final reflection over the course
Four articles Adler-Kassner, L. (2000). Service-Learning at a Glance. COLLEGE CYBERBRIEF (newsletter). Reprinted with permission of the National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved online as a PDF file on 10 October 2009. http://reflections.syr.edu/featured/KassnerLinda.pdf>.http://reflections.syr.edu/featured/KassnerLinda.pdf Butin, D. W. (2005). Service-learning is dangerous. National Teaching & Learning Forum 14(4),, pp. 1-5.Service-learning is dangeroushttp://www.ntlf.com/ Herzberg, B. (1994). Community service and critical thinking. College Composition and Communication, 45(3), 307-19.Community service and critical thinking Sigmon, R. (1979). Service-Learning: Three Principles. Synergist (9)1, 9-11.Service-Learning: Three Principles
Instruments Grading rubrics for writing assignments -One for the reading responses, background/history, and interviews/reflectionsOne for the reading responses, background/history, and interviews/reflections -One for the formal debateOne for the formal debate -One for the final reflection over the coursefinal reflection Survey (8 questions, mixed method) Survey Observations in the students writing
Service-learning video Service-learning in the intermediate composition classroom