Knowing and Doing: The Theory and Practice of Service-Learning

By Tillman, Martin | International Educator, November/December 2006 | Go to article overview

Knowing and Doing: The Theory and Practice of Service-Learning


Tillman, Martin, International Educator


Knowing and Doing: The Theory and Practice of Service-Learning Edited by Linda Chisholm International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership Press, New York, 2005

IT'S A PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO REVIEW the essays in this unusual book. Published by the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, this is a collection of essays and speeches to honor the memory of Howard Berry (1932-2002), immediate past president of the Partnership. I was Howard's colleague in the early 1980s at Rockland Community College (RCC) in New York (Linda Chisholm was also on the RCC staff at that time); along with other faculty and leaders in the field of experiential learning, we were actively engaged in the formative discussions and plans (led by then President Seymour Eskow, a leading figure supporting the role of international education at community colleges) to create an organization integrating experiential learning (in the form of community service) with formal classroom-based study.

Founded in 1982 as the Partnership for Service-Learning, the organization has played a pioneering role in widening opportunities for students to participate in service-learning programs in the United States and 13 other nations. The Partnership was the first national organization in this country devoted solely to uniting academic study and volunteer community service.

The book is divided in two parts. The first includes several of Howards major speeches delivered before national and international Partnership conference audiences. The second includes an astonishing diversity of "Festschrift Essays" written by leading international educators on the themes of service-learning addressing needs of the world and fostering desired educational outcomes, and on service-learning in international social and cultural contexts (a must-read for all education abroad professionals as this section discusses the adaptation of service-learning in nine countries and on the Lakota Nation reservation). The last section addresses issues concerning institutionalizing service-learning on campuses with several illustrative U.S. and international case studies.

Howard Berry was an iconoclastic thinker on matters of educational philosophy, with a probing mind and an ironic wit. His speeches mixed ancient and contemporary philosophical ideas; his sharp critique of the role of higher education in U.S. society must be understood in the context of his strong beliefs about the pedagogy of service-learning. As Linda Chisholm writes in her introduction: "He saw service-learning as creating a coherence between character-and-values development and intellectual skill, and as a means of reforming higher education. …

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