"Why Do I Have to Study This?" Making History Relevant through Service Learning

AHA Session 43
Thursday, January 3, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Continental B (Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level)
Elizabeth Robbins, Chicago Public Schools
Rubén Álvarez Silva, DePaul University
Lindsay Hayden, Chicago Public Schools
Janelle Walker, DePaul University
The Audience

Session Abstract

The history classroom, at both the secondary and post-secondary level, is often inundated with students who, despite the diligent efforts of faculty, do not see the connections between how the chosen curriculum of study impacts the world around them. Service Learning provides an opportunity for a holistic marriage between the course content and the real-world relevance of issues facing their communities. Through an examination of current events, root cause analysis of social issues, discussion on controversial topics, organization around service action projects, and powerful community partnerships, students and instructors can co-construct projects that clearly connect content to the world outside the classroom. Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which has supported Service Learning as a pedagogical strategy for over a decade, has developed a three part structure that focuses on Preparation, Action and Refection. A high school CPS teacher will discuss the full implementation of classroom projects, while one of their students will share their experiences and the impact that Service Learning has on them as a member of the school and larger community. At the collegiate level, Depaul University’s Steans Center has been leading the way in Illinois to provide opportunities and intense support for faculty wishing to connect their content to social justice projects. The assistant director will share insights of the application of Service Learning campus-wide, from developing a course, fostering partnerships, and assisting both student and faculty community based research. A faculty member will explain how they have executed Service Learning within their history curriculum and utilized the staff resources. The goal of this panel is to provide a practical plan for implementation of Service Learning within your institution or classroom and address common barriers to its successful application.
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