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ERIC Number: ED524554
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 93
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-3290-8
Hope, Strength, and Perseverance Community and Connectedness through Service Learning: Active Participation in the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids' Marathon
Parker, Jaime D.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Oklahoma
Many complex problems affect the lives of our citizens, including our children. A particularly important problem is a lack of a sense of community and connectedness (Belenky, et. al, 1986; Bellah, et. al, 1985; Dewey, 1938; Houser & Kuzmic, 2001; Palmer, 1998). There is a feeling among many that we are no longer connected to something larger than ourselves, and that we need to develop a better sense of community if we are to flourish as a society. In light of these concerns, this study investigated service-learning as a possible means of helping promote a sense of community among teachers, students, and citizens in general. Specifically, I asked: "What can be learned about educating for community and connectedness from a study of service-learning involving the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids' Marathon?" The study used Parker Palmer's ideas about teaching and learning in community as a theoretical lens to examine the educational value of participating in a service-learning experience related to the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids' Marathon. A qualitative approach was used, drawing on narrative inquiry to gather the data and thematic analysis to organize the findings. Like other qualitative studies, this investigation was based on constructivist epistemological assumptions. Constructivists assume that meaning is not universal or absolute. Rather, it is constructed differently by people in different situations. Therefore, instead of trying to present absolute truths, I will simply present the perspectives of the four elementary teachers whose students were involved in the project and offer my own interpretations of these perspectives. My hope is that these views will be useful to others. The data suggest that service-learning projects such as the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids' Marathon provide valuable opportunities for teaching and learning about community and connectedness as well as opportunities for growth and development of those who teach. However, such outcomes are certainly not guaranteed. These results required personal courage, an understanding of connected teaching, and a willingness to work for social stability and change. The study concludes that service-learning can be an important means of promoting community and connectedness in conjunction with the academic curriculum. Although service-learning is not a panacea and should not be used to replace other disciplines, it is possible that it can play a significant role in the development of critical, caring, and connected citizens. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oklahoma