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Moving Into Communities: Developing Cultural Competence with Pre-service Educators through Community Service-Learning Experiences

Heather Coffey

Abstract


Research in teacher education suggests that field experiences in community settings can offer pre-service teachers a context for understanding the link between theory and practice. This paper documents the experiences of pre-service educators who participated in service-learning partnerships for thirty hours in multiple community settings in the southeast United States. Pre-service teachers not only volunteered in the community, but they also engaged in critically reflective journal writing and participated in evaluative class discussions. Students praised the benefits of a service experience in both school and community placements and discussed how interactions with the community agencies gave them the insight into how community organizations often play a significant role in the lives of the underserved students they will eventually teach. The author argues that the inclusion of a service-learning component in early pre-service teacher education field experiences has the potential to facilitate the examination of the relationships between community organizations and schools and encourage development of cultural competence among pre-service teachers.

 

KEYWORDS

service-learning, pre-service teacher preparation, community partnerships


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Partnerships is sponsored by North Carolina Campus Compact, and hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. ISSN: 1944-1061
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