Also see Concept Paper and Preliminary Findings
A John Dewey Project Research Initiative:
Research, Teaching and Program Development Efforts
Across the state of Vermont educational institutions are adopting practices
designed to ground their educational mission in the life of the local community.
These "service-learning" or "curriculum of place" activities are involving
students, teachers and community members in jointly produced projects and
programs that engage students in active learning situations that provide
a benefit to the local community. This approach to learning and education,
when done well, helps to prepare students to participate in the democratic
process. The schools themselves can also be viewed as "good citizens"
by opening their resources to the needs and interests of the community.
The John Dewey Project on Progressive Education has received funds
from the Paul Foundation and the Vermont Department of Education to implement
a state-wide project designed to support the growth and development of
community based pedagogues in educational institutions. The project
has three dimensions: to assess the scope of service learning, curriculum
of place and community based learning efforts currently operating in schools;
to support schools and universities in advancing the adoption of these
curricular strategies; and eventually support pre-service and in-service
teachers wanting to offer service-learning and related pedagogues to their
Element 1: Research and Assessment
Assessing successful and unsuccessful practices of service-learning programs
and curriculum of place in schools (K-12);
Conducting comprehensive case studies of 6 to 9 schools in which community-based
learning has been adopted, or being a adopted;
Conducting a study of learning outcomes for service-learning students,
relating them back to the Vermont standards on social responsibility;
Publishing the results in a document that is geared toward practitioners
Authoring scholarly articles and perhaps a book using the research findings.
Element 2: Technical Assistance
Developing and supporting a technical assistance process designed to assist
schools committed to developing or expanding a curriculum of place in making
changes to their curriculum and school culture;
Providing subgrants of $500 to $2,000 to faculty, teachers and community
educators to assist them in implementing participatory action research
Working with UVMís Center for Teaching and Learning and the Career Development
Center in offering a faculty development process designed to promote the
wide spread adoption of service-learning and participatory action research
approaches into the undergraduate and graduate curriculum;
Convening a state-wide conference will be held in the fall of 2000 focusing
on community-based learning within a Vermont context.
Element 3: Infusing Community-Based Learning Into Undergraduate
and Graduate Education
Details Pertaining to Element 1:
Offering a course on integrating service-learning into the curriculum and
administrative practices to masters and doctoral students in the College
of Education and Social Services;
Supporting UVM interns in creating service-learning projects at their internship
Potentially offering a course to service providers from across the state.
Between 6 to 9 schools will be selected as case study sites. Schools
at various stages of development will be included.
Each case study will be comprised of:
A detailed work plan will be jointly developed by school liaison and Christopher
Koliba, project director.
An inventory of existing practices in service-learning/curriculum of place,
etc. will be conducted.
In some cases, as jointly determined by the John Dewey Project and school
liaison, assessment of these practices will be conducted.
A reflective self-assessment will be conducted involving key stakeholders.
(This will probably be a half day gathering of key stakeholders in a focus-group
Follow-up reflective self-assessments will be held, with each session progressively
facilitated by stakeholders.
Key stakeholders will be identified and interviewed. These stakeholders
include: students, parents, teachers, school administrators and community
Participant observations will be conducted by researchers who will observe
particular projects that will be jointly identified by school liaison and
research team members
Periodic focus groups will be conducted with students to document their
learning as it evolves over the course of the year.
"Best practices" will be collected.
Details Pertaining to Element 2:
"Technical assistance" support will be offered to 4 to 6 schools. Each
school receiving such assistance will be expected to participate in a team
building process. Each school will develop a team comprised of teachers,
administrators, community members, parents and students whose responsibility
it will be to introduce or expand on efforts to integrate community involvement
into the curriculum, the schools' culture and the life of the community.
Each school will be supported through a reflective self-assessment process
designed to create a creative collaborative environment geared toward achieving
the desired end. Each school will be asked to set its own goals and timeline
for achieving those goals. The technical assistance process will include:
It should be noted that some, but not all, schools engaged in the technical
assistance process will also serve as case study sites.
Several on-site visits by consultants from the Harmony Center and other
Access to several workshops during the fall and spring of 2000;
Participation in the Community Works/Guilford School Summer Institute.
for more information, contact Chris Koliba of the John
Dewey Project firstname.lastname@example.org
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