Service-Learning: Does It Promote or Reduce Prejudice?
Joseph A. Erickson Susan E. O'Connor Augsburg College
Among the many claims made for engaging in service-learning has been the assertion that service-learning is a pedagogy that can change values and attitudes, including attitudes such as prejudice. These claims come from practitioners and participants who have observed attitude change among service-learning participants toward former outgroup members. What is known about attitude change and service-learning?. Are service-learning "best practices" in alignment with what is known about attitude change and prejudice reduction? Do we know anything about the optimal conditions under which antiprejudice service-learning should be conducted? In this chapter, we investigate these questions and attempt to promote a framework from which future practice of service-learning as an antiprejudice tool might be shaped.
One may trace the theoretical basis for claims of service-learnings efficacy as an antiprejudice tool all the way back to Dewey ( 1938). Dewey's theory of experience has formed the foundation for experiential education's claim that learning through experience is superior to