UBC Graduate Research

Students' challenges in service learning : a non-typical "good news" story Sun, Simin


Community Service-Learning (CSL) provides students with an opportunity to serve communities as well as to realize their specific academic learning objectives. While there are proven and consensual benefits of service learning for students, some outcomes, challenges and concerns that students may encounter during the learning process have seldom been discussed. Especially for international students who participate in service-learning programs in Canada, their voice is missing in current literature. The goal of this paper is to explore what are the challenges that students may experience within the CSL programs, and how do these discomfort moments serve as learning opportunities. The paper presents a concise introduction to CSL, an overview of literature about challenges of service learning associated with students, and an autobiography of the author’s CSL learning experience. The author uses Boler’s theory of “ pedagogy of discomfort” to analyze the journals and to conduct critical reflection. Although the conclusions are specific to the case reported here, the learning process may apply to other international students enrolled in CSL courses in Canada. Thus this paper will potentially contribute to filling the gap in existing literature.

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