ERIC Number: ED459462
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Mar
Service-Learning and Civic Engagement: Bridging School and Community through Professional Writing Projects.
Dubinsky, James M.
Articles extolling service-learning's benefits and discussing ways to use the pedagogy in the form of projects with organizations in the community are on the rise in the fields of composition and business/technical writing. One educator's classroom experiences with service-learning have shown students make important educational gains in such programs. This paper defines service-learning and stresses its relevance to the field of English studies. It argues that both the learning and the service should be emphasized as part of an educator's civic obligation to students and society, an obligation often embedded in an institution's mission statement. It states that, exploiting tensions at the hyphen between service and learning, organizations and clients, workplace preparation and civic literacy, suggests strategies that will prepare students for the work they will do when they graduate and enable them to have a positive impact on the communities in which they will live. Further, it states that with these strategies writing can be used to build bridges between theory and practice and between Education and the workplace/community, thus enabling students to appreciate and enact their civic responsibilities as rhetoricians. The major project in the courses discussed in the paper is a collaborative one involving an organization in the community in which students begin by drafting a bid proposal outlining the organization's needs and the means to meet those needs. The paper concludes that for service-learning to succeed, it must be reciprocal, involve reflection, and emphasize accomplishment of task, collaboration, and learning (problem solving is a key element). A sample bid proposal is appended. (Contains 50 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Warwick Writing Programme, Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick, (5th, Coventry, England, March 26-27, 2001).