Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Reflection: In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning

   It was difficult for me to grasp the main point of this article, however, I took a few main ideas away from the text. I like how Kahne and Westheimer talked about the difference between directly and indirectly using service learning. One student was indirectly helping the homeless by packing winter survival kits. The only negative portion of their service learning was that the kits included a bible. Instead of asking a homeless shelter or the people what they needed most or use mostly on a day to day basis, they assumed they needed certain things which can come off as offensive to the homeless community. The other students directly helped people in the community by running errands for doctors and helped patients find the location of their appointments in the hospital. Either way, all of the students meant to be doing some type of good for people that are less fortunate than themselves. Packing survival kits can help a few people, however, by packing those kits it's almost like supporting  or condoning the idea of homelessness. Dr. Bogad spoke with us at the beginning of the semester about how one person's actions can be interpreted in a completely negative way when the person thought they were doing something great to help another person. This is one of the purest examples behind that message.
   The students could have taken a much different approach, like the students of Ms. Adams class, by researching the issue of homelessness. By researching the issue of homelessness, the students will gain an understanding of the reasons why people become homeless. Another important aspect is to break the stereotypes people have about homeless people. Not every homeless person is lazy and not every homeless person is a drug addict who cannot fight their addiction. By having a great understanding of the topic, students can put preventative measures in place that can stop the issue of homelessness in the future. 
   Another aspect of service learning is the caring and personal relationships that are formed from this type of work. Without those relationships, it is hard to connect with a people on a personal level. I have experienced this ideology throughout my service learning experience. I have recently began to form a few caring relationships with a few of my students. And, yes, I like to think of them as my students. These children have brought nothing but joy to my experience and what makes me even happier is watching them learn about the art and subject that I live for: music. We connect through the passion we all share through music and how it brings joy to so many people. This is just one of the examples that prove the importance of having a positive and caring relationship with adults, teenagers and children while using them as a resource to learn from.


1 comment:

  1. I loved your blog post Shannon. I liked reading about your positive experiences from service learning. You did a great job talking about the article and then relating it to your experiences. Great post, keep it up!