The Student Companion to Community Engaged Learning: What You Need to Know for Transformative Learning and Real Social Change
This compact, accessibly written text is designed for students to read and reflect on independently or to foster discussion in class on their motivations and dispositions toward community engagement and service learning. It prepares students to work with diverse individuals, groups, and organizations that may be outside their prior experience. Faculty can use the book as a tool to deepen the educational experience of the course and enrich community engagement. This text is a guide to what's involved in community engaged learning, from understanding the pervasiveness of social, economic and environmental problems, to learning about how individuals and organizations in communities work to overcome them. Students will discover through a process of reflection how service connects to personal development and the content of their courses, builds their ability to engage with people different from themselves, and develops new life skills, all in the context of working with communities to overcome systemic injustice. Critical questions woven into each chapter prompt students to reflect on ideas and perspectives about social justice, community development, and their role in fostering them. The book concludes with case studies of students who have experienced the transformative power of community-engaged learning. The stories illustrate common themes inherent in the student experience, including listening to understand, challenging stereotypes, learning the nature of their role, and seeing the world through a new lens. A special feature of this book is the embedded QR codes that provide access, as students read the text, to online resources, and original and public videos that explore particular themes or perspectives more deeply. The authors also include text directed to faculty to provide ideas about framing their community-engaged course and integrating the book.