The impact and effects of service-learning on native and non-native English-speaking college composition students
AuthorWurr, Adrian John
KeywordsEducation, Bilingual and Multicultural.
Language, Rhetoric and Composition.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examines the impact of service-learning on native and non-native English speaking college composition students. The general research question is: In what ways does participation in service-learning impact student learning? Specific research questions pertaining to the general categories of student writing performance, motivation, and social orientation, are as follows: (1) Does service-learning impact students' perception of self, school, community, and society? If so, how? (2) Do native and non-native English speaking students respond to service-learning similarly? Why or why not? (3) Are native and non-native English speaking students affected by service-learning similarly? Why or why not? (4) What other factors--such as learning style, previous experience with community service, and career goals--impact service-learning outcomes? (5) Does service-learning lead to improved student writing? If so, in what ways? The study consists of treatment and comparison groups of native and non-native English speaking students, for a total of four classes in the case study. Critical pedagogy, complexity theory, teacher research, experiential and service-learning theories provide the main theoretical rationales for the study. Data collection involved surveys, student interviews, participant observations, analysis of students' journal and essay writing, and course evaluations. Douglas Biber's (1988) multifeature/multidimensional approach to textual analysis was used, along with holistic and primary trait analyses of student texts to determine what, if any, impact service-learning had on the student's writing performance. The initial results document cognitive, sociocultural, and affective factors that contribute to the writing performance of linguistically and culturally diverse learners. Service-learning had a positive impact on participants' self-perception as members of the local community and on their personal agency in promoting social change. ESL students were especially enthusiastic about improved cross-cultural understanding and oral communication skills as a result of their community service. More students in the service-learning sections also thought their writing had improved as a result of the course than in the comparison sections, and independent assessments of their essays supported this view. Textual analysis of the students' writing found more situated and interactive features in the comparison essays than in service-learning essays, however.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching