ASSESSING THE MOTIVATIONS OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN “APPROACHES TO SERVICE-LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM,” A GRADUATE COURSE IN SERVICELEARNING PEDAGOGY
WHAT THIS IS ABOUTWeaving deep connections between teaching and the community is apractice that requires support, and one means of initial support forteachers is training in service-learning pedagogy. This poster invitesattendees to consider what motivates certain teachers to seek service-learning training and in so doing help to shape training approaches moreappropriately.
THE SETUPIn spring 2012, two faculty members of the University of Iowa’s RhetoricDepartment piloted a course for graduate students in the pedagogy ofservice-learning. Students who enrolled came from an array of disciplines,including education, English, geography, and neuroscience. Studentsdesigned a variety of projects that could be implemented in a classroom. Indoing so, they forged connections to partnering organizations in thecommunity. They also considered more deliberately the purposes of theirclassrooms and the possibilities for teaching and learning that aninnovative, service-learning approach would present.
PRINCIPLES OF COURSE DESIGNIn designing the course, the instructors were guided by pragmaticprinciples, primarily that the students would complete work that had a clearapplication in their current classrooms or in their future careers asteachers. Secondly, the instructors wanted to design a course in whichstudents would find a foundation in the theory and history of service-learning while still having time and space to explore the array of service-learning approaches being applied in the students’ home disciplines.Students’ own motivations for enrolling in the course could, in this context,frame each student’s approach to the course and the assignments.
STUDENT MOTIVATIONSStudents chose to enroll in the course for a variety of reasons. In general,the interdisciplinary course attracted students who wanted to hone theirclassroom teaching expertise. These students desired to gain experience incourse design via a service-learning approach and make their teachingrelevant beyond the walls of the classroom. Understanding the variety ofadditional motivations and the relative importance students placed onspecific motivating factors helps provide a detailed picture of whatstudents valued in the course.The most important factors as rated by students were ―My interest in thesubject,‖ ―I wanted to learn more about effective teaching,‖ and ―Thecourse’s interdisciplinarity.‖ All of the participants rated these factors asExtremely Important or Very Important with one exception: a single studentrated ―I wanted to learn more about effective teaching‖ as ―NeitherImportant nor Unimportant.‖
OUTCOMESBethany Smith (Ph.D. student, English Department, University of Iowa):Narrating Iowa City: Fostering Media Literacy and Community Engagementthrough local storytellingAnnemarie Steffes (Ph.D. student, English Department, University of Iowa):Navigating Empathy and Ethics in Art: Service-Learning with The LaramieProjectHeather Draxl (Ph.D. student, Language ,Literacy, and Culture, University ofIowa):Writing for, with, and about community: Creating resources forinternational students in Iowa city
NARRATING IOWA CITY: FOSTERING MEDIA LITERACY ANDCOMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH LOCAL STORYTELLINGThe project encourages course participants to see themselves not only asstudents at UI but as citizens of Iowa City. Students use the multimediastorytelling website CrossingBorders.us to explore local issues andcommunity narratives. Through readings and discussions, they analyzeand evaluate media narratives about Iowa City and its residents. Next, theywork in teams with Crossing Borders community partners to prepare andfacilitate workshops aimed at working together to critically read—andcreate—community narratives. Workshop participants can choose tocontribute their narratives to the website.Through the narratives they encounter and create, students participantsengage with literacy and composition skills in a holistic, creative way. Theypractice analysis, argumentation, and advocacy; identify and evaluate theunderlying arguments of other authors; and craft their own argumentsthrough strategic narration. Interacting with Iowa City’s physical andpersonal geographies encourages engagement with the community.
NAVIGATING EMPATHY AND ETHICS IN ART: SERVICE-LEARNINGWITH THE LARAMIE PROJECTMy Rhetoric class spends a great deal of the semester discussing TheLaramie Project and the politics of its representation: what ethicalresponsibilities do the playwrights have in representing a grief-strickentown? I wanted a service-learning project that requires my students tonavigate the pitfalls of recording others’ experiences themselves.I was able to partner with a local theatre organization that routinelyproduced autobiographical theatre: Working Group Theatre in Iowa City.WGT has and continues to create productions that record Iowa City’sexperiences and memories.My service-learning project asks students to record and transcribeinterviews for the theatre’s current project. While they would contribute tothe theatre’s final production, they would also create an independentart/narrative piece to work in conjunction with WGT’s performance. Theproject then concludes with a final paper that reflects on their artisticchoices – both the successes and the failures.
WRITING FOR, WITH, AND ABOUT COMMUNITY: CREATINGRESOURCES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN IOWA CITYIn Writing Partnerships: Service-Learning in Composition (2000) Thomas Deansoutlines three models for connecting composition students to communities:writing for communities, writing with communities, and writing aboutcommunities. This project incorporates aspects of all three models by askingstudents from different campuses to collaborate on a community writing project.Composition students at Kirkwood Community college Rhetoric students at theUniversity of Iowa work together to provide outreach and information for newlyarrived international students and citizens in Iowa City. This project originatedfrom working with Sudanese American students at Kirkwood Community Collegein Iowa City and grew out of an effort to help facilitate cross culturalexperiences, collaborative writing experiences, and community engagement.Students write for the community by providing texts for community members,they write with the community to produce these texts, and they write about thecommunity in individual reflective pieces. The project concludes with studentsmaking plans for incoming classes so that the project can be sustained.
REFERENCESButin, D. W. (2010). Service-Learning in Theory and Practice. New York, NY:PalgraveBringle, R. G., Hatcher, J. A., & Games, R. (1997). Engaging and supportingfaculty in service learning. Journal of public service and outreach, 2(1), 43-51.Bryant, J. A., Schonemann, N. and Karpa, D., Eds. (2011). Integrating service-learning into the university classroom. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.Deans, Thomas. (2000). Writing partnerships: Service-learning in composition.Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.Gelmon, S., Holland, B., Shinnamon, A., & Morris, B. (1998). Community-basededucation and service: The HPSISN experience. Journal of interprofessionalcare, 12(3), 257-272.Hesser, G. (1995) Faculty assessment of student learning: Outcomes attributedto service-learning and evidence of changes in faculty attitudes aboutexperiential education. Michigan journal of community service learning, 2(1),33-42.
REFERENCESO’Meara, K. A. (2011) Faculty civic engagement: New training, assumptions, andmarkets needed for the engaged american scholar. In J. Saltmarch andM.Hartley (Eds.) "To serve a larger purpose": Engagement for democracyand the transformation of higher education. Philadelphia: Temple UniversityPressSaltmarch, J. & Hartley, M. (2011) "To Serve a Larger Purpose": Engagement forDemocracy and the Transformation of Higher Education. Philadelphia:Temple University PressSpeck, B. W. & Hoppe, S. L. (2004). Service-learning: History, theory, and issues.Westport, CT: PraegerZieren, G.R. & Stoddard, P.H. (2004). The historical origins of service-learning inthe nineteenth and twentieth centuries: The Transplanted and indigenoustraditions.In B.W. Speck and S.L. Hoppe (Eds.) Service-learning: History,theory, andissues (pp. 23-42). Westport, CT: Preager