Service learning: issues and challenges, past and present

Reppun, Joshua Engel
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Today, in 2003, America's public educators are attempting to cope with what some call the most sweeping federal education reform initiative ever, the so called No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The goals of this 2001 legislation address many of the same issues identified in the Goals 2000 Educate America Act, in particular teacher professional development and credentialing, equity in educational deliverables, and accountability on the part of educators and students alike. 1 Once again service-learning's advocates argue that their pedagogy and philosophical approach to education can be one of a number of effective strategies for achieving the goals of No Child Left Behind, and of public education reform in general. The publications of well known leaders in the service-learning field such as Terry Pickeral, Janet Eyler, Shelley Billig, Andrew Furco, among others, argue a historically consistent refrain; service-learning should be one of the solutions to educational improvement. According to Pickeral et al., service-learning advocates and practitioners currently do not have a place at the table of school reform, but they should work hard to find that place. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the issues and challenges, past and present, for the teaching method and educational philosophy known as service-learning. Service-learning has a number of obstacles to overcome. The field suffers from low status and credibility in the context of general education reform; its advocates lack a consensus in terms of its mission and goals; its future is problematic. I intend to look at these challenges as educators within the field perceive them; I also intend to discuss these problems as I perceive them.
vi, 124 leaves
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