Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Getting Real

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Getting Real

Article excerpt

WHILE WE were preparing this issue for the printer, I received a questionnaire from the Minnesota Daily, the college newspaper on which I spent countless hours as an undergraduate, covering everything from campus politics to meetings of the Board of Regents. One of the questions posed by that questionnaire didn't even give me pause: 'How would you compare your experience on the Daily to your coursework? Not as useful, about as useful, much more useful?'

Though I attended Minnesota's Journalism School in its heyday and was taught by such giants as Ralph Casey, Raymond Nixon, J. Edward Gerald, Mitchell Charnley, Edward Emery, and George Hage, I unhesitatingly chose the third answer ' 'much more useful.' And I suspect that I'll be in the majority when the answers to that question are totted up. As anyone who has ever designed and built a set for a play, taken photos for a yearbook, worked for Law Review, or served as a medical intern knows full well, the real learning is in the doing.

And, in a way, that's what this issue is all about. Certainly, this month's special section on service-learning deals with engaging young people in highly motivational, hands-on activities that are closely tied to the real world. Indeed, back in 1991 when Joe Nathan and James Kielsmeier put together the first special section on that topic to be published under my editorship, they dubbed service-learning 'the sleeping giant' of school reform. They saw it as education for citizenship ' a way of teaching the young that change is possible through social action. But they also saw service-learning as a way of changing pedagogy to make school more engaging for students. …

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