Bridging Understanding between Preservice Teachers and Diverse Students through Service-Learning

May. 01, 2017

Source:  Teaching Education, Volume 28, Issue 2, 2017, Pages 178-193

The present study examines the effectiveness of service-learning as a pedagogical approach that seeks to bridge the gap of understanding between predominantly White undergraduate preservice teachers (PSTs) and diverse students at a local elementary school.


Analysis of ‘before’ and ‘after’ reflective papers and surveys from 23 PSTs enrolled in an entry-level education course as well as reflective letters from 41 fourth-grade students, revealed that prior to the project, PSTs feared that students’ language barriers or home circumstances might prohibit them from understanding or valuing the concepts introduced through the project. In PST ‘after’ reflections, PSTs expressed their new realizations that teaching is complex and requires careful preparation, that the children were ‘less different’ and more engaged than they expected, and that they can make a difference in children’s lives.

Updated: Jun. 04, 2017