Schulz Information Center

“Linking social justice with the processes of service learning requires designing a curriculum that provides insights into the macropolitical dynamics of oppression and domination, and connects those insights with individual and collective experiences of people in communities of need.”
-- Robert Stanley Oden and Thomas Amar Casey 1

SSU faculty member

Service-Learning in American Multicultural & Native American Studies

Thank you for your interest in service-learning in American Multicultural Studies (AMCS) & Native American Studies (NAMS). The CCE can help you create or deepen your service-learning class. We provide models of other courses, sample syllabi, resources for course construction, reflective analysis tools, and risk management support.

Service-learning activity usually falls into two categories:

TYPE 1) Teaching/tutoring/sharing knowledge from the class
Example: Students at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, in partnership with several immigrant-based non-governmental organizations, assisted local immigrants in a variety of tasks including taking photos, ESL tutoring, job counseling, and helping to complete packets for naturalization. The students gained insight into the immigration process and realized that “ decisions to immigrate are difficult for immigrants to make and often quite personal.” 2

TYPE 2) Using information in the class to do something with/for a community organization.
Example: Students at California State University, Monterey Bay explore multiculturalism and pluralism in “culturally and linguistically diverse elementary school classrooms.” The students “share literature, promote literacy, and help children make cross-cultural connections.” They then reflect on cultural misconceptions. Their experiences are then drawn upon for other aspects of the class including developing an annotated bibliography for cross-cultural reading materials, and a final multi-media presentation. “This presentation is a celebration of the growth in knowledge and perspective that each student has gained through the course and the service learning.” “Not only is it good experience for the students, but it also helps create and maintain good relationships with our community partners.” 3

1 Oden, Robert Stanley and Thomas Amar Casey. "Advancing Service-Learning." Race, Poverty, and Social Justice: Multidisciplinary Perspectives Through Service Learning (Service Learning for Civic Engagement Series) Ed. José Z. Calderón. Sterling, Va: Stylus Pub, 2007. Print.

2 Koulish, R., “Teaching Diversity Through Service-Learning Immigrant Assistance” Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities Ed. Carolyn R. O’Grady. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2000. 169-187. Print.

3 Martin, H., Wheeler, T., “Social Justice, Service Learning, and Multiculturalism as Inseparable Companions” Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities Ed. Carolyn R. O’Grady. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2000. 135-151. Print.

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