Social Justice, Service Learning, and Multiculturalism as Inseparable Companions
Herbert L. Martin Jr. Terri A. Wheeler California State University, Monterey Bay
We are poised here on the beginning of the 21st Century with many of the great problems of the 20th Century -- war, poverty, hunger, racism, gender inequality, homophobia, and burgeoning environmental disasters -- still facing us all around the globe. Having lived through the most exciting and hopeful time in American history, the revolutionary 1960s, both authors have never been able to teach anything but a social justice-oriented curriculum. Service learning, with its philosophical emphasis on multiculturalism and social justice, is the perfect companion to this approach.
This chapter describes two California State University-Monterey Bay classes that feature multiculturalism and pluralism integrated with a social justice approach to service learning in multicultural communities. Terri Wheeler teaches a course in the Liberal Studies major called Multicultural Children's Literature. About 85% of those who take this class are headed for the Teacher Credential program. The Service Learning Field component takes place in culturally and linguistically diverse elementary classrooms. Herbert L. Martin Jr. teaches a Liberal Studies class called Culture and Cultural Diversity, which is required of every Liberal Studies major. What these two learning experiences have in common is the powerful emphasis on social justice as the organizing thread that is woven throughout the