The impact of service-learning on personal bias, cultural receptiveness and civic dispositions among college students
Fisher, Wynnie Lee Ann
MetadataShow full item record
Service-learning is a teaching methodology instituted by colleges and universities that allows students to make connections between theoretical learning in the classroom and authentic experiences in society. Historically, mission statements for institutions of higher education have reflected an idea of service and preparing active and socially responsible citizens has been a goal for many colleges and universities as well. Service-learning participation has been attributed to several positive outcomes among college students. Research has suggested that service-learning is an effective educational tool in developing students' civic and social responsibility, allows students to engage in activities that may lead to more meaningful career opportunities and teaches students the value of teamwork when working through issues facing society. The purpose of this study was to review the impact service-learning had on students' civic dispositions, choice of major, awareness of career options, personal cultural bias, cultural receptiveness and self-assessment of social skills. Additionally, determining whether the amount of change differs regarding the impact of service-learning between students' gender, age, race and/or ethnicity, class level, school of major and number of service hours completed was explored. Survey responses from service-learning participants enrolled in courses with a service-learning component during the Fall 2007-Spring 2011 semesters supplied the data for this study. Several important findings emerged. First, service-learning participation was found to have a positive impact on students' civic dispositions, awareness of career options, personal cultural bias and self-assessment of social skills. Second, results from this study found no clear relationship between service-learning participation and students' choice of major and cultural receptiveness. In addition, findings suggest differences in the amount of change do exist regarding students' civic dispositions, choice of major, awareness of career options, personal cultural bias, cultural receptiveness and self-assessment of social skills and students' gender, age, race and/or ethnicity, class level, school of major and number of service hours completed. However, in some instances the amount of change reflected a positive impact following the service-learning experience and in other instances the amount of change actually showed a decreased or negative impact following the service-learning experience.