Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Undergraduates who participate in service learning are more likely to be civically engaged, aware of political and social issues, committed to pursuing social change, and have more positive and system-oriented attitudes toward marginalized populations, such as individuals with disabilities and those in poverty (Lawson et al., 2017; Seider et al., 2011; Seider et al., 2012; Weiler et al., 2013; Wilson, 2011). The purpose of our current study was to explore difficulties students had with service-learning experiences. Thirty undergraduate students (22 females) enrolled in service-learning courses participated in semi-structured interviews. The results show that students experience a breadth of difficulties in service-learning experiences. Some difficulties (Lack of organization; Safety and Transportation) may require program-initiated responses to alleviate. Other difficulties (Anxiety regarding new role; Unmet expectations; Safety) might be better approached by careful instruction and preparation before entering the service-learning portion of the class. Finally, some difficulties (Interactions with DePaul Students; Connecting with and Motivating Community Members) may be inherent in service-learning experiences; perhaps these difficulties are an integral part of fulfilling learning goals, as long as students are given space and time to reflect. This study adds understanding on the difficulties students may face when participating in service-learning courses and experiences. These findings can be used to strengthen service-learning course curricula to better prepare students for the difficulties involved in service learning.
Type of Research
Undergraduate Student - Independent Study