ERIC Number: ED408506
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Service-Learning and the Development of Expert Citizens.
Eyler, Janet; And Others
A research project used data from a national comparative study to examine whether service learning improved students' problem solving or contributed to a more complex understanding of social issues. In a pilot study, students with no, limited, and intensive service-learning experience were interviewed about a social problem and how they would solve it. When the interviews were analyzed for differences, a number of themes emerged. The students with extensive experience and well-integrated service learning tended to approach the social problems related to their service in a more complex and thorough way and were more likely to have well-developed strategies for citizenship action.than those with limited experience. In a more systematic study, an interview protocol was designed to allow students to analyze problems related to their service both before and after their service learning semester. Subjects were 55 college students from 6 colleges who were interviewed at the start and end of the spring semester of 1996, most of whom participated in either an intensive service-learning class where the service was integrated into the course or in a class where service was an option, and 12 students in classes with service options who did not choose the option. Expertise in social problem solving and community action resulted from service learning, and careful integration of service into the course rather than making it an option helped instructors design more effective community-based instruction. (Contains 13 references.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Career Education, Citizenship Education, Comparative Analysis, Educational Benefits, Educational Research, Higher Education, National Surveys, Pretests Posttests, Problem Solving, Public Service, School Community Relationship, Service Learning, Student Attitudes, Student Participation
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 1997). For related documents, see CE 074 334-336.