Service-Learning Pathologies and Prognoses

Roy Schwartzman


This essay diagnoses and suggests treatments for several pathologies that afflict service-learning. Structural challenges include geographic isolation and optimization of  institutional administration. Student challenges include reinforcing stereotypes, deficiencies in practical skills, elitism regarding suitable service, underdeveloped empathy, and excessive focus on time spent in service. Community partner challenges include appropriately defining student labor and systematically under-reporting negative experiences. The prognosis explores how service-learning projects could instigate student engagement with the systemic nature of social injustice.

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