Working Papers in Education

Communication Activism Pedagogy in Higher Education: Community/ Intergroup Dialogue as a Prerequisite to Service Learning

Kelly M. O'Donnell


Education in the U.S. is heavily influenced by neoliberalism, i.e. an emphasis on measurable marketable skills that perpetuate hegemonic status quo. Communication Activism Pedagogy (CAP) is an offshoot of critical pedagogy, which emphasizes the use of communication to enable students to become agents of change by promoting justice and equality. Service-learning has been the preferred vehicle to teach these skills, this paper argues that students may not possess the requisite skills to adequately navigate service learning courses. Instead intergroup or community dialogue should be used to introduce students to issues of injustice and inequality to allow them to explore their root causes, while exploring their own voices and opinions that were not previously developed during their K-12 education.


Communication Activism Pedagogy; Service-learning; dialogue

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