Service-Learning and Social Justice

By Mullaly, Mary C. | Momentum, February/March 2011 | Go to article overview

Service-Learning and Social Justice


Mullaly, Mary C., Momentum


Service-Learning and Social Justice Engaging Students in Social Change By Susan Benigni Cipolle, Ph.D. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Maryland 2010, 177 pages, $34.95, paperback; $85 (cloth), $34.95 (electronic) ISBN 978-1-60709-519-4) (paperback) ISBN 978-1-60709-518-7 (cloth) ISBN 978-1-60709-0 (electronic)

Service-Learning and Social Justice Engaging Students in Social Change By Susan Benigni Cipolle, Ph.D. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Maryland 2010, 177 pages, $34.95, paperback; $85 (cloth), $34.95 (electronic) ISBN 978-1-60709-519-4) (paperback) ISBN 978-1-60709-518-7 (cloth) ISBN 978-1-60709-0 (electronic)

levels, K-12, as well as higher education. The focus of this book is using service learning and critical consciousness development as a path to fostering the emergence of engaged citizens who are committed to working for social justice.

For the practitioner, it then blossoms into the practices, strategies and suggestions for implementation and program development as it takes the reader through the practical steps of engaging students in social change as it progresses from charity to caring, to taking action through social justice.

Author Susan Bercigli Cipolle has more than 30 years of teaching experience and, as a service-learning practitioner and administrator, she was instrumental in developing and institutionalizing the service-learning program at Benilde-St Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. This book is the result of Cipolle's four years of study and research toward a doctoral degree in critical pedagogy on the strengths and limitations of service learning and how students develop a social-justice orientation to service.

Critical pedagogy as first outlined by Paolo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" seeks to empower teachers and students with the critical skills necessary to bring about social change by developing a critical consciousness and a will to act in solidarity with the poor. By viewing servicelearning through a critical lens, Cipolle examines issues of power, privilege and oppression and how to raise both student and teacher consciousness.

Cipolle cites Thomas Groome's "Educating for Life," where he notes that "Plato describes teaching as 'turning the soul1 of learners, of touching and shaping their innermost 'being'their identity and agency." To accomplish this she stresses the importance in the school or classroom of utilizing critical reflection on a continuous basis through the use of the following questions:

* How does this apply to me personally? …

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