Saturday, March 27, 2010

Worldview Shifts In International Academic Service-Learning

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A longitudinal case study of an international service-learning program in Nicaragua, conducted by Richard Kiely (2004), found that "each student experienced profound changes in their world-view in at least one of six dimensions: political, moral, intellectual, personal, spiritual, and cultural" (p. 5).

The Six (6) Dimensions of Transformation

Kiely identifies six "transforming forms": political, moral, intellectual, cultural, personal, and spiritual.

For example, he defines political transformation as "an expanded sense of social responsibility and citizenship that is both local and global" while moral transformation is developing "a relationship of mutual respect and care and sense of solidarity with community" (p. 11). The intellectual transformation he observed in some students is their ability to question "assumptions about origin, nature and solutions to problems" (p. 11).

While his students did not change in all of these dimensions, this qualitative study (using onsite participant-observation, document analysis of student journals, questionnaires and reflection papers) revealed that each student experienced at least ONE of the six types of perspective transformation.

For more information about this and other studies of academic service-learning, click the link to visit the website of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning.

Work Cited
Kiely, R. (2004) A Chameleon with a Complex: Searching for Transformation in International Service-Learning Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spring, pp. 5-20.

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