Released: fall 2014
Length: 17 pages
In Currents in Teaching and Learning, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Worcester State University)
Co-authored by Ahmed Allahwala, Jessica Mustachi, Keli Bellaire and Kim Leah Yuyitung (Currents in Teaching and Learning, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2014)
Abstract: If not designed with critical attention to the uneven distribution of institutional and individual power between university, community, and project participants, service-learning initiatives run the risk of reinforcing the belief that institutionalized knowledge carries more weight than community-based forms of knowing. Especially when working in marginalized communities or with vulnerable populations, failing to address dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression may lead to the reproduction of negative stereotypes and assumptions about the community in which the project takes place. Based on our collective experience as partners and participants in a service-learning project around issues of community safety and violence involving youth, we discuss both challenges and opportunities for critical service-learning and strategies to engage in processes of self-reflection and the creative debunking of negative stereotypes.