The focus of this book is on the ways in which service learning and multicultural education can and should be integrated so that each may be strengthened and consequently have greater effect on educational and social conditions. It offers a significant attempt to forge a dialogue among practitioners of service learning and multicultural education. The overriding theme is that service learning without a focused attention to the complexity of racial and cultural differences can reinforce the dominant cultural ideology, but academic work that seeks to deconstruct these norms without providing a community-based touchstone isolates students and schools from the realities of the larger communities of which they are part.
Although the chapter authors provide varied perspectives on the benefits and challenges of integrating multicultural education and service learning, they all are committed to a vision of education that synthesizes both action and reflection. None of the authors pretend to have all the answers to what this integration should look like, nor do they believe that today's social problems are easily ameliorated through education. Rather, they share theories, practices, failures, and triumphs in order to further the conversation about the importance of aligning what educators say about the world and how they act in and on it. These authors share the view that multicultural education is truly transformative for students only when it includes a community action component, and likewise, service learning is truly a catalyst for change only when it is done from a multicultural and socially just perspective. It is their hope that the ideas explored in this book will further the work of those who share a commitment to the integration of action and reflection.
"O'Grady has edited a unique and intriguing volume that merges community service learning and multicultural education… This volume presents critical and challenging perspectives for anyone interested in promoting social change and engaging students in active learning within their communities".
—Journal of College Student Development
"A unique blending of two strong fields in education: service learning and critical multicultural education….Clear, well organized, and thoughtfully written….I know of no other book that attempts this interesting integration of fields and find it timely and provocative."
—Kathleen Bennett de Marrais
University of Georgia
"Carolyn O'Grady and the chapter authors of this book have taken on an immense challenge: to integrate community service learning with multicultural education so that together they inform and redefine one another. It is an awesome task. It means diving headlong into turbulent ideological waters concerning such issues as difference, meritocracy, unequal access to power, and the very purpose of education. By embedding service learning within the discourse of democracy, social justice, and equality, they have dared our society to live up to its lofty but unfulfilled promises."
University of Massachusetts, Amherst; From the Foreword
Contents: S. Nieto, Foreword. C.R. O'Grady, Preface. C.R. O'Grady, Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education: An Overview. Part I:Theoretical Frameworks. C. Rosenberger, Beyond Empathy: Developing Critical Consciousness Through Service Learning. K. Densmore, Service Learning and Multicultural Education: Suspect or Transformative? J.A. Erickson, S.E. O'Connor, Service-Learning: Does It Promote or Reduce Prejudice? K. Téllez, Reconciling Service Learning and the Moral Obligations of the Professor. R.C. Wade, From a Distance: Service-Learning and Social Justice. Part II:Reports From the Field. K. Rice, S. Pollack, Developing a Critical Pedagogy of Service Learning: Preparing Self-Reflective, Culturally Aware, and Responsive Community Participants. H.L. Martin, Jr., T.A. Wheeler, Social Justice, Service Learning, and Multiculturalism as Inseparable Companions. S. Raudenbush, J. Galura, We Made the Road by Talking: Teaching Education 310, "Service-Learning With Multicultural Elders" at the University of Michigan. R.E. Koulish, Teaching Diversity Through Service-Learning Immigrant Assistance. V.C. Simmons, W. Roberts-Weah, Service-Learning and Social Reconstructionism: A Critical Opportunity for Leadership. M. Boyle-Baise With P. Efiom, The Construction of Meaning: Learning From Service Learning. I. Guadarrama, The Empowering Role of Service Learning in the Preparation of Teachers. Part III:Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Higher Education: Promises and Possibilities. M. Langseth, Maximizing Impact, Minimizing Harm: Why Service-Learning Must More Fully Integrate Multicultural Education. C.E. Sleeter, Strengthening Multicultural Education With Community-Based Service Learning. C.R. O'Grady, Afterword.