Monday, March 9, 2015

The Politics of Service Learning by Kahne and Westheimer -Extended commentary

For this week's blog, I decided to do an extended commentary on Allee's blog because she brought up some excellent points and references from other texts. "The Politics of Service Learning" discussed how important service learning is and how students change their views on the world because of it. 

I agree with Allee that many people only contribute to charity because it is a requirement to graduate at many schools. What makes me sad is that these people don't think or seem to care about how they are changing other peoples' lives. At my high school, we did not have a community service requirement, but that didn't stop me from volunteering to do childcare at my church. Yes, the kids can be rambunctious and quite a handful, but they brighten my day every time I go there. The service learning that is required for this class is one of the best experiences of my life!

In her first text connection, Allee uses the following quote from Johnson's "Privilege, Power, and Difference" article :"But always the purpose is to change how we think so that we can change how we act, and by changing how we participate in the world, become part of the complex dynamic through which the world itself would change" (viii). What I like about this quote is that it is very spot on to the actual idea of service learning. My service learning experience has definitely changed my thinking and my perception of the world. Allee mentions in her blog that Johnson said that in order to change the world, we cannot be afraid to speak up. I absolutely agree with that, but I think that in order for the change to occur, we need to have more than one person to speak up.

Allee's second text connection was on Ullucci's article "Pathologizing the Poor: Implications for Preparing Teachers to Work in High Poverty Schools." I personally loved how Allee mentioned how important it is to not stereotype poor people nor make assumptions about them. Yes, some poor people are lazy and do drugs, but others work just as, if not, harder than the average person. We are currently living in a country that has a horrible economy. Like Allee said in her blog, some neighborhoods that people say are "dangerous" end up being one of the most friendly neighborhoods. I give Allee so much credit for being so brave on her first day of service learning. If someone had told me that I was about to enter an unsafe neighborhood, I would run the other way. Allee went to this "unsafe" neighborhood and met some very welcoming students. This just shows that we can't always believe what some people say until we experience it ourselves. This Kahne and Westheimer quote that Allee selected basically sums everything up in this paragraph:  "The experiential and interpersonal components of service learning activities can achieve the first crucial step toward diminishing the sense of 'otherness' that often separates students - particularly privileged students - from those in need" (8). By helping students, who have less privilege, we can mentor and try to help them become more successful in the world someday.

Who can forget Lisa Delpit and her aspects on the culture of power from her article, "The Silenced Dialogue.?" Ever since I read that article, I have been witnessing some Delpit moments everywhere I go. Allee mentions that people with the power have set beliefs that service learning is just good charity. On one hand, I agree that many people think of service learning or charity as "doing the right thing," but on the other hand, I disagree because there are many teachers out there that emphasize how community service not only changes the others that we are helping, but it also changes ourselves.

Points to share/Questions : I found a community service learning center webpage from the official website of the University of Minnesota. It talks about how students, faculty, and community partners benefit from service learning. There were many points from there that I agreed with.I think that it is a shame that my high school never required community service because I think that it could have changed many of my classmates' views and beliefs. I remember overhearing some of my classmates' assumptions on other people who were not like them and they would say some things that truly disgusted me. Was community service a graduation requirement in your high school? Did you think of it as a change in your perception or just another thing that you had to do in order to get out of high school?


  1. Great job with the personal connections! My high school didn't require community service either, it would have benefited the students and community so much. I've done plenty of community service, it's so rewarding knowing you are really making a difference in others lives =)

  2. I'm glad that you liked my post! I think that you did a great job and I really liked your pictures.