Penn State

Mary Hutchinson - Associate Professor, ESL Education, Penn State Lehigh Valley

Book Title: Learning the Language of Global Citizenship: Service-Learning in Applied Linguistics

Author: J. Hellebrandt and A. Wurr, Editors

Book Description:

The mission of Penn State University is to “engage in collaborative activities with [the community] here and abroad to generate, disseminate, integrate, and apply knowledge that is valuable to society.” This calling both invites and encourages faculty to involve themselves in scholarship that, in Ernest L. Boyer’s words, “moves toward engagement and asks questions about how knowledge can be responsibly applied to consequential problems.” This scholarship of engagement is grounded in the theoretical notion that the generation of new knowledge takes place when people come together to deliberately and purposefully work to solve these problems. In my own work as an engaged scholar, I have examined the impact of service-learning, a pedagogical approach which combines academic course content with community-based service designed to address pressing social issues. From the student perspective, I have studied this influence through the lens of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory, which encourages students to critically examine their assumptions, beliefs, and values about the world. Service-learning provides a valuable experience for students that moves away from the traditional charitable assistance stance of service and instead fosters awareness of public problems and their potential solutions which can lead to educational and social change. This book, in which I have a chapter, highlights a critical area of service-learning research and raises a number of educational, linguistic and human rights issues. It not only addresses the need for second language proficiency, but the importance of creating and sustaining academic community partnerships through service-learning. In addition, it provides a strong theoretical emphasis for preparing college students as thoughtful and engaged citizens in local, national and international arenas.

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