Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2003


Over the past several years, college campuses across North America have seen an increase in the variety of service-learning projects integrated with academic course goals. Federal and state governments are asking schools, colleges, and departments of education to promote service-learning because of service-learning's unique capacity to promote high-quality learning and civic engagement in its participants. Teacher educators are responding by embedding service- learning into various teacher education courses and they report positive outcomes. For example, experiences in culturally diverse and/or low-income schools and communities juxtaposed with multicultural education courses provide preservice teachers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the social dynamics of culture, race, and class. Sleeter (2000), however, makes a distinction between community-based service-learning and school-based service-learning experiences. She maintains that a community-based service-learning experience "has the potential to challenge the 'deficit perspective' more powerfully than school field placements" (p. 267). Guadarrama (2000) agrees with Sleeter, stating: "Without this community component...teacher education lacks the capability of effectively educating teacher candidates in the richness and complexity of the community and its integral relationship to the inconsistencies in quality in the schooling practices of students" (p. 228-229). This issue brief explores the necessary components in a multicultural service-learning program that will make it an exceptional experience for teacher candidates and the students they will teach.