ERIC Number: EJ798713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 19
Strengthening Democracy and Personal Development through Community Engagement
Chickering, Arthur W.
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n118 p87-95 Sum 2008
In this article, the author states his belief that community based learning among adults can be a powerful force for encouraging personal development and for strengthening democracy in this multicultural, globally interdependent, battered world. To do so, however, it needs to pervade all the curricula, degree programs, learning contracts, and community partnerships. He suggests that pedagogical practices need to call for behaviors that are consistent with desired outcomes and that generate learning that lasts: collaborative and problem-based learning, case studies, learning teams and research teams, socially responsible learning contracts, criterion-referenced evaluation. These pedagogical practices need to incorporate concrete experiences and reflection, applying and testing academic concepts, principles, and theories in real-life situations such as service learning. All these formal academic policies and practices need to be supported by faculty members who are psychologically, physically, and temporally accessible. Adult students, as well as traditional-age students, can express cynicism, self-involvement, and lack of multicultural sensitivity. Service learning is one avenue to help students engage in encounters with authenticity, empathy, and respect. The author urges practical actions that can augment key dimensions of personal development necessary for effective citizenship and a strengthened democracy.
Descriptors: Democracy, Role of Education, Democratic Values, Citizen Participation, Teaching Methods, Relevance (Education), Service Learning, Social Development, Cultural Pluralism, Empathy, Individual Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Community; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A