Thursday, October 16, 2014

In The Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning, Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer- Reflection

    This weeks reading, “In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning” by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer looked at the benefits and affects the service learning projects have on a society and how important it is for students to get an opportunity to experience service learning, which I completely agree with. Service learning gives you a whole new outlook and breaks down the perceived stereotypes that are initially there.   Here is a list of some great service project ideas created by educators. This list varies from working with animals, to helping the environment to tutoring children and working with people of a different race and poverty (Which is the focus of our own service learning project for this class). This list shows there is something for any student to do and they have options!
                When I was in ninth grade a requirement was a community service learning project. I chose to volunteer at a soup kitchen once a week.  I remember being super into it and I wasn’t just doing it for a grade after as I continued doing it until Junior year. I feel like I learned  a lot about who I was helping as I got to know some of the regulars who would go every time this meal was offered.  

                This weeks article had an example of Middle School Class Service Learning Project where they volunteered at a school in a “poor neighborhood”. I am curious as to what type of neighborhood these students were working at. Is it like the neighborhoods we see from our service learning projects or  could it have been to the extreme as to the neighborhoods that Jonathan Kozol has described which is how the kids made it seem when they said, they were expecting the worse, “horrifying children running around on a dirty campus." They had expected them to be "rude, tough, noisy, and very unfriendly," and they even thought they would be "mean, gang-related blacks". What is worse is they got these ideas from their parents. Although their parents played a big role in their thoughts I bet the media did too because that is where the stereotype comes from these days. Last weeks reading proved that Disney cartoons even had these messages so even at a young age they get that idea in their head. After the visit the middle school students were shocked how well behaved and friendly  which is one of the over all goals for any service learning project. In the end you break down those stereotypes that have been put on them! 


  1. Thanks for posting the list of service learning projects. Your reflection illustrates one of the many points Khane and Westheimer are trying to display to their audience. You were into volunteering at the soup kitchen because you wanted to not because you were getting something out of it. Great connection to Kozol.

  2. good job connecting to Kozol. I love to volunteer as well ! I wonder what the difference was from the soup kitsch you went to to the one I went to

  3. My school had a community service requirement too, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy mine as much as you... it's great that you enjoyed it, and like Essence said; continued volunteering because you enjoyed it, not to fulfill a credit.
    It is sad that children are receiving such misinformation from the media and their parents, as a teacher, you will have a great impact on revealing these misconceptions.