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Service-Learning and the “Real World” of Classroom Politics

Oren Abeles


Although various critical pedagogies long insisted upon the classroom’s political dimensions, much related service-learning scholarship peculiarly insists that political engagement requires students step beyond classrooms to external settings where the “real world” of politics supposedly takes place. Building upon an increasing trend among service-learning scholars to examine ways such curricula affects internal classroom power dynamics, this paper recounts experiences of a college composition class in which students were given the authority to direct pedagogy and instruction of younger student writing partners. Though not conclusive, the research suggests that the older students exercised a more collegial, democratic teaching style with their younger peers than what they themselves experienced as students in their own traditional classroom settings.  

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