Towards an ethical ecology of international service learning

Bamber, Philip M. and Pike, Mark A. (2012) Towards an ethical ecology of international service learning. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45 (4). pp. 535-559. ISSN 0022-0272

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International Service-Learning (ISL) is a pedagogical activity that seeks to blend student learning with community engagement overseas and the development of a more just society. ISL programmes have grown as educational institutions and non-governmental organisations have sought to achieve the goal of developing ‘global citizens’. However, Service Learning (SL) in general and International Service-Learning (ISL) in particular remain deeply under theorised. These educational initiatives provide policy makers with a practical response to their quest for a ‘Big Society’and present alluring pedagogical approaches for Universities as they react to reforms in Higher Education and seek to enhance both the student learning experience and graduate employability. After outlining the development of ISL in policy and practice, this paper draws on the rich tradition of ISL at one British university to argue that ISL is a form of engagement that has the potential to be ethical in character although we identify a number of factors that militate against this. Our contention is that ISL which promotes rationaland instrumental learning represents a deficit model and we therefore conceptualise ISL here as a transformative learning experience that evinces distinctly aesthetic and even spiritual dimensions. Upon this theoretical groundwork we lay the foundations for conceptualizing ISL in ways that ensure its ethical integrity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: "This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in the Journal of Curriculum Studies 21st May 2012 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:
Keywords: service-learning, international, transformative, ethical
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Teacher Education
Depositing User: Susan Murray
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2013 12:56
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2014 10:36

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