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This study intends to broaden the conception of service-learning and to expand on its models, epistemological positions, and exemplars. Our intentions are to develop a substantive analysis of service-learning in its current theoretical development and to diversify service-learning pedagogical repertoire for teacher education candidates in graduate education programs. As university faculty, who embed service-learning components in various education courses, we are concerned with the manner in which higher education institutions manage their practices—primarily according to narrowly conceived technical and prescriptive models, thereby restricting multiple ways of knowing, teaching and learning. We demonstrate how service-learning can develop new forms of knowledge in teacher education, the knowledge that challenges the false dichotomy of theory and practice. We appropriate Bourdieu’s (1972/1977, 1980/1990, 1984, 1987/1990, 1990/1999) social theory to create a new service-learning model, Service-Learning Habitus (SLH) grounded in the ethics of care (Noddings, 2003, 2005a, 2005b, 2007) and responsibility to the Other (Levinas, 1998, 2006). We posit that SLH is an alternative service-learning theoretical framework and practice that can enhance student learning outcomes and elevate the status of the teaching profession from a more traditional to a more progressive approach, which promotes activism and engaged learning.


This article was originally published in the International Journal of Research on Service-Learning in Teacher Education in 2010. Re-posted here with permission from the author and in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.



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