ICLSTE Research Agenda

Research Agenda for Advancing Service-Learning in Teacher Education

The agenda outlined below was developed by a research affinity group at the International Conference on Service-Learning in 2006 (for full document see PDF). The team agreed that future research in the field of service-learning should deepen understanding of the impacts, implementation and institutionalization of service-learning in teacher education. The research agenda is framed by a set of research questions that are defined as being key to advancing the practice and study of service-learning in teacher education.

Impact on Recipients of Service and External Entities

  • What are the impacts of teacher education service-learning on K-12 and community partners? (What is the impact on service recipients?)
  • Does service-learning in pre-service teacher education impact student teacher's teaching ability?
  • What impacts do service-learning recipients (pre-service teachers) ultimately have on schools and community (after they engage in service-learning experience)?

Impact on Service-Learners (Service-Learning Participants)

  • How does service-learning impact the development of cross-cultural competence and diversity? To what extent does service-learning teacher educators' ability to teach better, understand more cross cultural competency?

Implementation Research

  • What are best practices (both conventional and unconventional) for advancing high quality service-learning in teacher education?
  • What are the characteristics that define the ideal role for community partners in teacher education service-learning partnerships?
  • What are effective strategies for building an asset-focused service-learning program (rather than one focused on needs, problems, etc.)?
  • What are the implications for Hamlin's model of community building and citizenship development for building high quality service-learning in teacher education?
  • What are some of the international models for advancing service-learning in teacher education?
  • What aer the key cultural and contextual implications for service-learning practice in teacher education?
  • What are the faculty motivators and deterrents for service-learning engagement? Are there institutional differences in faculty motivation (e.g. faith-based vs. secular institutional, urban vs. rural)?
  • What are the campus administrator (deans) motivators and deterrents for service-learning in teacher education?
  • What are the key purposes for service-learning in teacher education? What are the key civic purposes for service-learning in teacher education (e.g. charity, social justice, public work)?
  • What would a developmental model of service learning in teacher education look like¬†(e.g. what first year pre-service teachers need to know, in-service teachers)?

Institutionalization Research

  • What are the key elements for institutionalizing service-learning in teacher education?
  • To what extent do the key elements for institutionalizing service-learning in teacher education differ from institutionalization elements for higher education in general?
  • Are there distinctions in advancing and institutionalizing service-learning in teacher education at the graduate and undergraduate levels?
  • What kinds of standards for service-learning development are being developed across the globe?

Theoretical Frameworks

  • What are the key theoretical backgrounds and perspectives that inform the practice and study of service-learning in teacher education?

Methodological Issues

  • Conduct more experimental studies to assess impacts on participants, communities, and institutions.
  • Conduct in-depth case studies and historiographies that capture the stories and contexts within service-learning experiences as a way to better understand implementation and institutionalization issues.
  • Conduct comparative, transnational studies to explore commonalities and distinctions in impacts, implementation, and institutionalization of service-learning in teacher education.
  • Use mixed methods approaches to allow for both depth of analysis and generalization breadth.
  • Identify instruments and measures that can be applied universally to allow for aggregation of data across programs and studies.