The Politics of Service Learning
By; Kahne and Westheimer
In both Mr. Johnson's class and Ms. Adams' class service learning was a large part of the curriculum. To try and decide which form of service learning, (charity or change) is better is a very tough thing to do. I feel like they both have their pros and cons. With charity, the student if physically seeing what they can do, and how much they can help. For example, the boy in Mr. Johnson's class who made the survival kits for the homeless. He sees how much he is helping that one person. However, that particular student may fail to see the larger homeless problem. While the hands on experience is great for that student, it would also be great for him to have the knowledge of the larger homeless issue. That is where the change aspect of service learning comes in. Being educated on the issue, and working with larger groups to try to help a problem is a great thing. It can create a much different outcome than the charity version of service learning. To stick with the homeless example, raising money for the two homeless organizations helps a larger range of individuals than the student who made survival kits and handed them out to the homeless. That’s not to take anything away from that student, because I’m sure what he did was a huge help, but the change idea of service learning helps more so with the homeless problem rather than the homeless individual.
Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
While going for change instead of charity really does help the problem more in my opinion, I don't think there is anything like that face to face interaction when you are helping someone in need. For example, for the past month I have been doing a fundraiser for a child on the basketball team I coach that was diagnosed with bone cancer. We did special events, raffles, etc. All the money we raised could have been donated to an organization that fights against his particular type of cancer. In the long run, that would help more. However, donating it to his family for medical bills, expenses, etc. helped that particular INDIVIDUAL more.