Introduction to Service in Multicultural Communities – Section 2: Youth Literacy and America Reads

February 1, 2001

Community Participation University Learning Requirement (CP)
Successful college graduates posses skills and knowledge in many areas. Among these include collaboration, leadership, active citizenship, multicultural understanding, reflective thinking, critical analysis, and the ability to be a change agent in their community. The ULR in Community Participation (CP) is designed to foster the development of self reflective, culturally aware and responsive community participants through reciprocal service and learning.

Successful completion of SL200 with a grade of C or better fulfills this requirement. Students acquire competencies in Community Participation through reflecting on an ongoing, service experience (minimum of 30 hours/semester) with and requested by an external community and demonstrating they can participate in the community in a selfreflective, culturally aware, and responsive manner.

What is Service Learning? (adapted from the Corporation for National Service):
Service Learning is a method through which community participation, academic subjects, skills, and awareness are taught. Service learning goes beyond traditional forms of volunteering by linking, active learning and reflection on self in relation to others.

Service Learning provides for the sharing of resources between educational institutions and the community. This partnership provides opportunities for learning and serving, by all involved. This process is called reciprocity.

In addition, the Service Learning process is a collaborative one. Students, faculty, and the community work together to identify individual needs, and to develop ways to address those needs while capitalizing on each partner’s strengths.

Some basic tenants of Service Learning can help ensure the process of serving and learning is one that mutually benefits the student, the faculty member, and the community. These tenants include preparationn for sensitive and effective service, on-going reflection, and evaluation of the process by all partners. This process assists in transforming a service experience into a learning experience, which in turn leads to more effective service with the community.

Introduction to Service in Multicultural Communities

Course Purpose
The purpose of SL200 is to foster the development of self-reflective, culturally aware, and responsive community participants through reciprocal service and learning. This type of community participation requires an indepth understanding of some of the root causes of the challenges we face in our communities. After successfully completing the course, you will better understand the complexities of our surrounding community including the impact oppression, power and privilege have on our communities and on each of us individually; you will be better prepared for your service learning experience in a major; and you will have developed skills in entering, participating and exiting communities with sensitivity and awareness.

Course Learning Environment:
Both classroom-based and community-based learning are integral to this course.

Communitv-Based Component
The theme of this section is Youth Literacy and is part of an innovative Presidential initiative called the America Reads Challenge which seeks to ensure that every child in the U.S. can read well and independently by the end of third grade. For a minimum thirty hours, you have the opportunity to tutor second or third grade children in a local elementary school: Jesse Sanchez and Cesar Chavez in Salinas and Ord Terrace and Manzanita in Seaside. In addition to hands-on work, your time at the school will be spent observing, listening, and engaging in dialogue with community members. You will be working with children and adults with whom you do and do not share common life experiences related to class, race, gender, ethnic background, language, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation. One of the purposes of your community placement is to afford you a direct experience in a community or sector of a community with which you do not have previous experience. You will have the opportunity to learn more about youth, schools, literacy, issues of injustice, and about the strengths and assets as well as about the challenues we face in our local community. Through this involvement, you will have the opportunity to be both teacher and learner, server and served. Children are often our best teachers, and you will have opportunities to learn from their wisdom.

Classroom-Based Component
Twice weekly we will meet as a group to explore the relationship between class readings and service-site experiences through small and large group discussion, writing, experiential exercises, and the use of media. We will focus our reflection and learning on the relationship between institutional structures such as racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression that create and maintain privilege and prejudice in our communities, particularly as they relate to inequities in our schools and in literacy education. Time spent in the classroom and in the community is of equal importance. Active involvement in both are crucial to gaining the competencies necessary for successful completion of the ULR in Community Participation. Because the time spent in the community and in class are critical to the successful completion of this learning experience, some classes meetings have been canceled and class assignments have been developed with these time commitments in mind.

Required Course Readings

Reading Packets available from Professor Rice.

Depending on your site placement, you will read one of the following four books available at the University Book Store: ‘ Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol; Push by Saphire; When the School Bell Rings by Christine Sleeter; or School Girls. DO NOT BUY YOUR BOOK YET, WE WILL CHOOSE BOOKS AS A CLASS A FEW WEEKS INTO THE SEMESTER.

*Additional readings will be distributed throughout the semester. Of course, we are all expected to come to class having read the readings, and made notes on things you want to discuss with your classmates. On occasion you will be asked to write on the readings in class.


Students will create a portfolio throughout this course consisting of a weekly Reflection Journal, in-class activities and lecture notes, brochures and information obtained from your community placement, notes on class readings, a group book report presentation, and a final presentation. The assignments you will be expected to turn in are described below.

A. Service Learning Agreement
Due: September 30

Completing a Service Learning Agreement (the form will be provided for you) gives your the opportunity to clarify and articulate service and learning goals for your Service Learning site. The form is completed by you, after discussing its contents with your site supervisor. Once completed, your site supervisor signs the form. You will give a copy to your site supervisor, turn one copy into me, and keep one copy for yourself.

B. Reflection Journals
Due: September 14 (3 entries), October 5 (3 entries), and November 2 or 4 (turn in 2 entries at
Mid-Semester Meeting), November 23 (2 entries)

The purpose of the Reflection Journal is to provide you with a forum for making meaning of your experience in the community, in class and through the readings. You may choose the form you use for your Reflection Journal. This can be done in writing, on audio tape, through e-mail or other technological processes, or through artistic expression (other forms will be considered for approval). Your Journals will be returned within two weeks. However, you need to be contributing to them every week, so be sure you do not turn in a notebook that you cannot be adding to while it is being graded. We will spend time in class discussing what makes a Reflection Journal an effective one. Be sure to read the Student Guide to Reflection carefully.

.C. Book Club (Group Presentations November 18; Peer Evaluation Due November 23) You and 4-5 classmates will read the same book. As a group, you will creatively inform your classmates of the most significant learnings of the book, and describe how they relate to your site, class activities AND readings in a 15-20 minute presentation in class. Group members will anonymously evaluate one another’s participation in the group as well.

D. Final Presentation (December 2, 7, and 9) The final presentation consists of two parts, one written and one presentation. The written portion will be a “mega” reflection about your learning for the semester and will help you prepare for your class presentation. The written reflections are due December 2. In addition, each student will have the opportunity to share their most significant learning with their classmates through a class presentation. Creativity is encouraoed! Your project can be done independently or collaboratively. You will have 10-15 minutes per person to highlight what you have learned from 1) your service site, 2) class activities AND 3) class readings. Placing effort on the otherassignments, especially your Reflection Journal, will ensure this culmination project will be of hiah quality. If you will be taking photographs or filming video at your site for your final project,
early planning is ESSENTIAL as you must obtain written permission from people in the photos or videos! This will be discussed in class. You will also receive more information on your final project later in the semester.

All assignments are to be turned in on time. Any late assignments will lose points. You will receive clear grading criteria for each assignment, and information on how your work is assessed. If you are not pleased with the grade you received on an assignment, you are encouraged to rewrite or redo the project and resubmit it. You may receive full credit if the rewrite is of high quality. Those assignments submitted with little effort will be returned without a grade. You will be expected to resubmit the work within one week. Original work must be submitted with a rewrite.

Various forms of evaluation will be conducted by the three partners in the Service Learning process (people at your community site, you, and the professor). You will provide feedback on the course and on the service placement site. Throughout the semester, the supervisor at the placement site will be asked for verbal and written feedback on the commitment and quality of service provided by each student. I will provide feedback on your ability to articulate your experiences, reflect upon them, and integrate them with course readings, discussions, and exercises through assignments. Your grade will be determined by my assessment of your classroom participation, successful completion of assignments, and on feedback received from your placement site. Also, we will schedule a mid-semester meeting where I will give you feedback on your performance to date and you will, have the opportunity to provide feedback on the class and on your community site. Attendance at this meeting is a portion of your class participation grade.

Reflective Journal 30 points ( 3 points per entry)
Group Book Report 15 (10 points presentation; 5 points peer evaluation)
Final Presentation 25 points (15 points for reflection paper, 10 points for presentation)
Class Participation 15points (attendance and active involvement, mid-semester meeting, additional class assignments)
Agency Assessment 15 points (evaluation from service site supervisor)

Weekly Class Schedule – Unless otherwise noted, readings should be done for the Monday class.

Course Overview and Expectations, What is Service? Introduction to Service Learning, Reflection, and Experiential Learning Journal Questions of the Week: What is your definition of service? Did the class exercise help you clarify your definition? If so, how? What is your definition of of service learning? What do you see as the benefits and challenges of reflection?

Personal Histories of Service; Preparation for Placement Fair; Introduction to America Reads and to the schools

For Class:
Read Course Syllabus
“Service-Leaming: A Balanced Approach to Experiential Education” by A. Furco
“Politics … maybe” by J. Castro
“A Family Legacy” by M.W. Edelman

Journal Questions of the Week: What interests, skills, knowledge, and abilities do you have that could benefit people at your placement site? What is your motivation for being involved in the community? Do you relate to the motivations Castro or Edelman write about? Why or why not? How does the Furco article help you think about creating the kind of experience you want to have in the community and in this course?

Journal Questions of the Week: What did you learn from the tutor training? What additional train i ng/i nformation do you need to be successful as a tutor? What expectations or hopes do you have for your first tutoring session?

Placement Fair Assignment; Entering and Participating in Communities: Seeing and Observing, Listening, Questioning, Recognizing Assumptions, Reflection

For Class:
Reading Assignment:
“Student Guide to Reflection” (handout)

Journal Questions of the Week: What things have you learned that are important to keep in mind when you are working respectfully in the community? After first Tutoring session: What was your first tutoring session like? What were you pleased by? What surprised you? What will you do similarly next time? What will you do differently? What did you learn from the children in your first day?

Assessing Needs and Assets of Communities, Reciprocity

For Class:
Reading Assignment:
“American Horse” by L. Erdich
“·Give Back to Your Community· She said” by R. Campo
“Why Servanthood is Bad” by J. McKnight (handout)

Journal Questions of the Week:

What do you see as the needs and assets of the children you will be working with? What do you see as your own needs and assets as a service learner? Describe a relationship that is a reciprocal one for you, one where you both give and receive significantly from the relationship. Would you define this relationship as one of service? Why or Why not?

Who is your Neighbor? What is Community? Who is Our Community?

Reading Assignment:
“On Being a Good Neighbour” by Dr. M. L. King, Jr.
“TELL US Report” (booklet handed out in class)

Journal Questions of the Week: What do you define as a “good neighbor”? Referring the Dr. King’s descriptions of various neighbors, what kind of neighbor are you? Is this the kind of neighbor you want to be? What does community mean to you? Is it important for you to feel a sense of community? What community(ies) do you feel a part of? In what communities do you feel apart from/feel uncomfortable in? What have you learned about the local community? Was anything surprising for you?

Compassion and Blame; Understanding Others’ Perspectives; Dialogue with Reading Specialists

For Class:

Reading Assignment:
“right and wrong” by P. Chodron
“The Quivering Heart” by D. Sawyer
Poems and photographs by Dr. Frances Payne Adler and Kira Corser

Journal Questions of the Week:
What has been positive about your, experience in the community so far? What has been uncomfortable or challenging? What have you learned about compassion, blame and understanding other’s perspectives? How might what we have discussed in class assist you in seeing the people at your site in some new ways? What impacted you most from the work of Dr. Adler and Ms. Corser? What was helpful about the time spent with the reading specialists? What additionalassistance do you want?

Revealing Root Causes; Introduction to the Dynamics of Oppression and
Community: Stereotypes, Privilege and Prejudice; Classism; Ageism

For Class:
Reading Assignment:

“Tired of Playing Monopoly” by D..Langston

Journal Questions of the Week: What did you learn from the Star Power Simulation–about yourself and about the systems of oppression at work in our society? What are some of your reflections on how oppression has played a role in your life, both as a member of a target group of oppression, and as a member of a non-target group? In what ways might people at your placement site have experienced oppression from our society as both targets and non-targets?

Racism and Sexism

For Class:

Reading Assignment:
“Racism: Something about the Subject Makes it Hard to Name” by G. Yamato
“Passing” by K. Brundage
“White Privilege and Male Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh

Journal Questions of the Week: How does racism impact your life, either as the target of racism (a person of color) or as a non-target ( a White person)? What do you believe needs to happen to end racism? What do you think you can do? What role do you believe racism plays in the lives of the people at your service site? What role do you think racism may plays in the educational system?

Sexism and Heterosexism; Responses to Oppression: Resistance and Alliesor Internalized Oppression and Internalized Domination

For Class Monday:

Reading Assignment:

“A Fabulous Child’s Story” by L. Gould
“Homophobia and Sexism” by S. Pharr (Pharr reading numbered pp. 11-25)

Journal Questions of the Week:

Many are raised to believe men and women have equal opportunity to achieve anything they want to achieve in the U.S. Do you believe this? Identify examples in your own life and in your community site placement that support and defy this belief. Do you notice any gender differences at your site? How does heterosexism play a role in your life? In what ways do you receive privileges or prejudices based on sexual orientation? What examples of heterosexism. and homophobia do you see in your daily life, at your service site? What does it mean to be a resister or an ally to fight injustice? Do you want to resist oppression when you are a target? Do you want to be an ally with others? Why or why not? and if so, how?

Class Dialogue with Community Activists (MONDAY); Group Book Club

For Class Monday:
Reading Assi!znment:

“Battling Toxic Racism” by R. Street
“Women, Home, and Community: The Struggle in an Urban Environment” by C. Hamilton
“The Pocketbook Game” (handout)

Journal Questions of the Week What did you learn from the courageous acts of resistance of being allies? How did the discussion relate to, shape, influence, or differ from your own views about community participation and activism? What did you learn. from the book club presentations?

Charity and Social Change; Preparing to Exit Community Site

Reading Assignment:

“In the Service of What: The Politics of Service Learning” by J. Kahneand J. Westheimer

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