lege presidents conducted by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching cited the importance of achieving two key goals for undergraduate learning: (a) building a stronger overall sense of community, and (b) creating closer links between classroom and out-of-class activities (O'Brien, 1993). In 1994, a task group appointed by The Association of American Colleges identified twelve principles for effective general education programs based on the work of seventeen institutional participants in the "Project on Strong Foundations for General Education" sponsored by the Lilly Endowment. The report from this task group concluded that strong general education programs are: (a) self-consciously value-based and teach social responsibility, (b) attend carefully to student experience, (c) foster academic community, and (d) reach beyond the classroom to the broad range of student co-curricular experiences. And, the Student Learning Imperative Project (1994), sponsored by the American College Personnel Association, agreed that hallmarks of a collegeeducated person include: (a) complex cognitive skills such as reflection and critical thinking, (b) an ability to apply knowledge to practical problems, and (c) a coherent integrated sense of identity and civic responsibility. Clearly, the characteristics of good undergraduate education derived from John Dewey's philosophy of education are consistent with the principles for effective undergraduate education identified in these reports. Relationship to Service-learning The five characteristics of good undergraduate education distilled from Dewey's work are also consistent with the pedagogy of service-learning. Service-learning is a type of experiential education that engages students in service within the community as an integrated aspect of a course. Servicelearning challenges students to reflect on their community service in such a way that the service experience enhances course learning, broadens understanding of the discipline, and clarifies values that can lead to civic responsibility (Bringle & Hatcher, 1996). "The evolving pedagogy of service-learning is a key to ensuring the development of graduates who will participate in society actively, ethically, and with an informed critical habit of the mind" (Stanton, 1990, p. 186). Many argue that service-learning is a unique type of experiential education because it can strengthen notions of civic responsibility (Barber & Battistoni, 1993) and civic literacy (Lisman, 1995). Research indicates that college students involved in service-learning report an increased desire to serve their community, an increased sense of personal responsibility to The Moral Dimensions of John Dewey's Philosophy meet community needs, and an increased level of commitment to voluntary service (Markus, Howard, & King, 1993; Mohan, 1994; Sax & Astin, 1996). Service-learning integrates personal experience with classroom learning, creates opportunities for reflection, is inquiry-based, facilitates face-to-face communication, and connects students to the community. Thus, service-learning exemplifies Dewey's educational philosophy. Identifying these characteristics of good undergraduate education is a means by which the value of service-learning can be articulated and is necessary if service-learning is to be more widely recognized and supported in higher education (Ehrlich, 1996; Zlotkowski, 1996). Conclusion As a service-learning educator, I enjoy the challenge of delving into the writings of John Dewey. His work gives me vision to see my work in new ways as I "reconstruct" the value of service-learning. I began teaching a service-learning class eight years ago as a way to actively engage students in learning. At the time, I taught a required study skills course for under-prepared first year students. College students tutored eighth graders in study skills as an integrated aspect of the course. Anecdotal evidence convinced me early on that service-learning has multiple learner outcomes: the college students were more active in class discussions, reported an increased confidence in their own ability to learn, clarified their career and educational goals, strengthened relationships with peers through the shared experiences, gained a perspective on the difference an individual can make in the life of another, and most importantly, persisted at higher rates than my non-service-learning students towards successful completion of the study skills course. What I did not realize at that time, however, and have come to value through the writings of John Dewey, is that service-learning is consistent with the moral dimensions of education in a democracy. Service-learning has multiple outcomes for the public good. John Dewey's educational philosophy challenges service-learning educators in a number of ways. We must continue to develop the individual capacities of our students and view each student as a contributing member of the academic community. We need to provide opportunities for face-toface communication so that undergraduates can learn from others and critically think about their experiences. We need to value the doubt and perplexity generated by the service experiences and support student learning and development through 27
Top of page Top of page