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Equity & Excellence in Education

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A great deal of research on multiculturalism looks at different approaches to multicultural education and visions of multicultural teaching and learning. Though some research theorizes about how preservice teachers might learn about race or gender, there is very little work that helps teacher educators understand what learning about diversity more broadly, might look like. This study uses the conceptual framework developed by Paine to raise questions about and illuminate differences in the learning outcomes of preservice teachers who participated in two similar yet notably different service-learning experiences. Through examinations of writing tasks we find that teacher learning did indeed depend on the opportunities to learn provided by service-learning placements. Service-learning experiences that facilitated non-traditional power dynamics, engaged out-of-school contexts, and connected to teaching pedagogy were associated with more complex understandings of diversity. We suggest that attention to the relationships between service experiences and learning will help us better manage service learning limitations, better understand the impact of service-learning, and better understand the opportunities to learn inherent in such activities.


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