Towards a critical service learning in geography education: exploring challenges and possibilities through testimonio

Madelaine C. Cahuas, Charles Z. Levkoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There has been an increasing interest in exploring the transformational possibilities of experiential learning approaches like service learning, across post-secondary education, including geography. At the same time, scholars caution that such initiatives can entrench neoliberalism, white supremacy and other power structures and call for implementing a critical service learning (CSL) approach that is rooted in action against injustice. In response, this paper uses testimonio methodology to explore the experiences of a student and instructor engaging in a graduate geography course that implements CSL. We demonstrate how CSL is a complex process that is mired in the very power structures and institutional barriers it attempts to disrupt. Nonetheless, CSL creates opportunities for social change in the classroom and community, which make it a promising pedagogical strategy for geographers aiming to create alternative teaching approaches in their classrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-263
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geography in Higher Education
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Critical service learning
  • human geography education
  • social justice
  • testimonio

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