Transformative Critical Service-Learning
Theory and Practice for Engaging Community College and University Learners in Building an Activist Mindset
Published: February 2022
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Published: February 2022

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Published: February 2022
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6" x 9"
Language: English

A 2023 SPE Outstanding Book Honorable Mention

Transformative Critical Service-Learning
offers hands-on tools for implementing, reflecting on, and assessing critical service-learning in classrooms and community spaces. Answering a need from practitioners for a practical tool for making sense of critical service-learning, the authors introduce the Critical Service-Learning Implementation Model as a way to encourage conversations among stakeholders. Materials include specific criteria to examine, examples of application and context, and ways to incorporate the model into reflective practices. Valuing partnerships, reflection, and analysis of power dynamics, the research and strategies offered here provide an entry point for faculty new to critical service-learning, while also offering new ideas and tools for long-time practitioners. Chapters offer particular attention to strategies for engaging students, syllabus development, and reflective cycles. Additionally, the authors offer a model for faculty development in the area of critical service-learning at the institutional level, including suggestions for faculty and administrators interested in increasing engagement with social justice and community spaces.

As institutions of higher education are focusing more on the ways in which they can meet the needs of the communities surrounding their campuses, The Carnegie Foundation’s Elective Classification for Community Engagement provides a special-purpose designation for higher education institutions with commitments in the area of community engagement. Universities must commit to institutional change in order to improve the outcomes for the communities surrounding the campus. The classification framework represents best practices in the field and encourages continuous improvement through periodic re-classification. Service-learning has been identified as one of the more effective methods for engaging undergraduate and graduate students in community engaged scholarship, which facilitates development of critical inquiry, understanding needs assessment, and deep reflection on inequality. The authors intend this book to benefit university faculty endeavoring to begin or develop service-learning courses, higher education administrators who want to train and engage university faculty in adopting a more community engaged teaching model, and P-12 teachers, who often serve as community partners with higher education institutions to facilitate justice-oriented approaches to teaching their diverse students.

Perfect for courses such as: Critical Thinking and Communication/Service-Learning │ Service-Learning Capstone │ Pathways to Effective Community Engagement │ School and Community Collaboration │ Teaching to Transform Society │ Food, Environment, and Sustainability │ Race and the Right to Vote in the US │ Education and Society │ Environmental Education │ Race, Place, and Memory

Table of Contents:




Introduction: Positioning Ourselves as Critical Service-Learning Faculty

1. The Case for Developing Social Justice Through Critical Service-Learning

2. The Pedagogy of Critical Service-Learning

3. The Critical Service-Learning Implementation Model

4. The Critical Service-Learning Implementation Model in Action

5. Planning for Identity Exploration With Critical Service-Learning

6. Implementing Critical Service-Learning Through Reflective Cycles

7. Faculty Development for Critical Service-Learning

8. Conclusion


About the Authors


Reviews & Endorsements:

Transformative Critical Service-Learning, by Dr. Heather Coffey and Dr. Lucy Arnold, delivers a theoretical framework and practical strategies for designing, implementing, assessing, and reflecting on critical service-learning experiences. This work is grounded in the theoretical constructs of critical service-learning and incorporates Nicole Mirra’s work on critical civic empathy as an impetus for reflection and self-awareness. The authors introduce the Critical Service-Learning Implementation Model (CSLIM) as a tool for critical service-learning design and provide examples of this work to better understand the pragmatics and affordances of implementation. This book is a superb resource for faculty implementing or teaching about critical service-learning.”

Barri Tinkler, Ph.D., Interim Dean and Professor, Missouri State University

“Deeply grounded in the historical roots of critical service-learning – as well as current theory and practice – Transformative Critical Service-Learning offers us more than the what and the why – it provides a much-needed map to the how. While much of the existing scholarship on critical service-learning focuses on questions of definition and theory, Coffey and Arnold offer a well-scaffolded guide to what critical service-learning actually looks like in practice in K-12 schools and higher education. Community-engaged scholars, practitioners, teachers, and teacher educators at all levels will benefit from this book. The authors engagingly delineate strategically crafted instructional activities, implementation models, case studies, asset mapping schemes, assessment strategies, and an array of thoughtful tools for effectively implementing critical service-learning. Coffey and Arnold demonstrate a deep commitment to transformative learning – not simply for students, but for faculty, community partners, and all collaborators in critical service-learning experiences. Coffey and Arnold keenly recognize that critical consciousness isn’t something that randomly happens – rather, critical consciousness is a heightened level of awareness and action that we can intentionally grow – but only when we create the enabling conditions, spaces, relationships, and deep learning experiences which best foster its development – Transformative Critical Service-Learning is a thoughtfully constructed guidebook to the creation of these necessary enabling conditions.”

David Malone, Ph.D., Professor of the Practice of Education, Director of the Service-Learning Program, Duke University

“Heather Coffey and Lucy Arnold have produced an exceptionally readable, researched, and useful book on critical service-learning. This brief, but comprehensive text provides a panoramic guide for becoming a critical service-learning teacher in schools and colleges. Coffey and Arnold invite and equip teachers to embrace service-learning as a pedagogy for democratic social change in education and society. Their panoramic and systematic excursion in the theory and practice of critical service-learning is also a book of love and hope for improving the world. This work is a bright light in dark times.”

Ira Shor, Ph.D., Professor, College of Staten Island

Transformative Critical Service-Learning invites university educators to challenge traditional understandings of both ‘service’ and ‘learning’ and reorient their practice toward the design of mutually humanizing partnerships grounded in commitments to equity, empathy, and justice. Coffey and Arnold offer educators the theoretical and practical tools they so urgently need to navigate the social, cultural, and political dimensions (and tensions) of critical service-learning alongside students and communities in ways that foster individual and collective transformation.”

Nicole Mirra, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urban Teacher Education, Rutgers University