Doing Diversity through Service Learning

By Good, Linda | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Doing Diversity through Service Learning

Good, Linda, Academic Exchange Quarterly


As a significant part of the college course Human Relations in a Multicultural Society, pre-service teachers are engaged in service learning and reflection as two of the primary methods to develop cultural awareness and appreciation, human relations skills, and positive dispositions about diverse groups in society. Eleven oppressed groups in U.S. society are the focus of students' study, experience in the community, and reflection. Education students "do" diversity through eighteen contact hours of service learning with a group that is outside their comfort zone. Specific planned objectives are addressed throughout the service learning experience. At the conclusion of the service learning, students reflect on the experience.


It is well recognized and documented that the United States is a pluralistic society made up of diverse racial/ethnic groups and microcultures (Gollnick and Chinn, 2004). Because of this diversity, there is a need for understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of cultural differences related to language, customs, culture, religion, and values. Teachers of the twenty-first century are challenged by the heterogeneity of present classroom populations. Since teachers must promote harmony in the classroom and meet the individual needs of students to succeed in school, they must have an understanding of pluralism as well as possess good human relations skills to work with diverse groups of children, parents, and colleagues. Meaningful, research-based pre-service courses that actively engage students through constructive education assist in building this cultural competence.

Review of the Literature

Research related to the reduction of prejudice is the foundation of human relations training. Dent (1976) found that more active student participation was more effective in teaching tolerance. Ijaz (1981) noted that cultural immersion positively altered attitudes toward acceptance of differences. Stephan (1985) completed a comprehensive review of the literature related to reduction of racial prejudice through changing group attitudes and behaviors. He concluded that voluntary contact between people of differing groups could lead to prejudice reduction. Allgood (1998) reported that when multicultural content is addressed in cognitive, reflective, emotive and active domains, it is more likely to reduce prejudice. Additionally, Rice (1994) advised that in order to develop more consciousness about diversity, one must leave his/her comfort zone. "Interaction among diverse individuals can (a) decrease stereotyping and prejudice and (b) increase positive relationships. It is only through direct contact and interaction with diverse individuals that stereotypes can be reduced" (Johnson and Johnson, 2002, p. 9).

Boyte (1991), Conrad and Hedin (1991), and Pate (1992), reported that service learning is one of the methods that is more effective in reducing prejudice. Allam and Zerkin (1994) expound on the benefits of service learning when it is infused in teacher education programs. When infused in a teacher education program, the service learning experience helps to "create a learning environment which is empowering and multicultural in approach" (p. 3). A recent study by Garmon (2004) testified that intercultural experiences and self-reflectiveness were two of six factors identified as playing a critical role in positive multicultural development.

Designing a Program

A course in human relations that focuses on skills related to diverse populations has been developed. A service learning component is integral to this class because it is an avenue for placing students with people different from them. Through service learning, students experience diversity i.e. "do diversity", instead of just learning about it.

Early in the semester, students self-determine their needs related to developing knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes about people who are different from them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Doing Diversity through Service Learning


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.