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Community based service-learning: Partnerships of reciprocal exchange?

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Community based service-learning (CBSL) integrates experiential learning and academic goals with organised

    service activities designed to meet the objectives of community partners (Bringle & Hatcher, 1995). Although

    research remains inconclusive regarding the benefits of student outcomes, CBSL has been endowed with the

    potential to enhance (1) academic learning, (2) foster civic responsibility, (3) develop life skills and (4)

    transform student attitudes (Eyler, 2002). However, there is little research to support claims that benefits are

    mutual amongst host counterparts (Edwards et al., 2001; Ward & Wolf-Wendell, 2000). A lack of empirical

    research into community partner conceptualisations of best practice approaches, outcomes and impacts, not only

    reflects a uni-dimensional understanding of the mutuality of programs, but fails to challenge dominant power

    relations embedded in traditionally uneven partnerships. It remains problematic to engage with service-learning

    without considering underlying neo-colonialist ideologies that continue to permeate the ways community

    service, international development, and volunteering are defined and practiced. If CBSL builds upon reciprocity

    and collaborative partnerships, it follows that research practice should adopt similar principles. Drawing on

    development discourse and practice, this paper provides a critical review of the CBSL literature. First, this paper

    will demonstrate how closely intertwined CBSL is with contemporary development agendas; second, bring

    attention to the absence of partner perspectives and partner involvement within CBSL studies; and third, outline

    a CBSL research agenda.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Hammersley, L. (2012). Community based service-learning: Partnerships of reciprocal exchange?. In M. Campbell (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2012 Australian Collaborative Education Network National Conference (pp. 103-108). Melbourne: Australian Collaborative Education Network.

Start Page


  • 103

End Page


  • 108

Place Of Publication


  • Melbourne

Abstract


  • Community based service-learning (CBSL) integrates experiential learning and academic goals with organised

    service activities designed to meet the objectives of community partners (Bringle & Hatcher, 1995). Although

    research remains inconclusive regarding the benefits of student outcomes, CBSL has been endowed with the

    potential to enhance (1) academic learning, (2) foster civic responsibility, (3) develop life skills and (4)

    transform student attitudes (Eyler, 2002). However, there is little research to support claims that benefits are

    mutual amongst host counterparts (Edwards et al., 2001; Ward & Wolf-Wendell, 2000). A lack of empirical

    research into community partner conceptualisations of best practice approaches, outcomes and impacts, not only

    reflects a uni-dimensional understanding of the mutuality of programs, but fails to challenge dominant power

    relations embedded in traditionally uneven partnerships. It remains problematic to engage with service-learning

    without considering underlying neo-colonialist ideologies that continue to permeate the ways community

    service, international development, and volunteering are defined and practiced. If CBSL builds upon reciprocity

    and collaborative partnerships, it follows that research practice should adopt similar principles. Drawing on

    development discourse and practice, this paper provides a critical review of the CBSL literature. First, this paper

    will demonstrate how closely intertwined CBSL is with contemporary development agendas; second, bring

    attention to the absence of partner perspectives and partner involvement within CBSL studies; and third, outline

    a CBSL research agenda.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Hammersley, L. (2012). Community based service-learning: Partnerships of reciprocal exchange?. In M. Campbell (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2012 Australian Collaborative Education Network National Conference (pp. 103-108). Melbourne: Australian Collaborative Education Network.

Start Page


  • 103

End Page


  • 108

Place Of Publication


  • Melbourne