ERIC Number: ED404657
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Classroom to Community--and Back: Michigan State's Service-Learning Writing Project.
Cooper, David D.
Composition Chronicle: Newsletter for Writing Teachers, v10 n3 p6-8 Apr 1997
Like most Americans, young people today yearn to play more active roles in community life. According to a recent study, there are two roadblocks to effective citizen empowerment: lack of knowledge and training that could help people connect with each other, and a dimmed belief that individuals can make a difference. In an effort to address these limitations, writing faculty affiliated with the Service Learning Writing Project (SLWP) at Michigan State University, along with colleagues nationwide, have developed a curriculum that treats democracy itself as the art of public discourse. Inaugurated in 1993, the SLWP first set out to strengthen links between undergraduate learning, writing instruction, and public service. The program currently places more than 200 writing students a year into more than 50 nonprofit agencies where students work collaboratively on writing assignments that have a direct and immediate impact on the lives of people in Michigan. Whether in already existing writing classes or the SLWP's own special course, faculty who use community service writing assignments try to focus on problems of public life relevant to course content and theme. Students read representative works by those who have shaped the communitarian conscience of American civic culture--Jefferson, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, John Dewey, Dorothy Day, etc. Writing assignments based on such readings supplemented by community service agency writing projects demand the same high level of critical awareness and sophistication for student writers that democracy has always asked of its citizens. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A