Service-Learning: Motivations for K-12 Teachers
Date of Award
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The purpose of this dissertation is to describe the essence of the service-learning experience for K-12 teachers in central and northwest Ohio, specifically exploring teacher motivations for initiating service-learning in the classroom. Service-learning is defined as an educational methodology that incorporates student preparation, service to the community, and reflection, with links to the academic curriculum (Billig, 2002). There are six guiding questions that direct this study: a) How do teachers understand and describe their experiences in implementing service-learning projects? b) What motivates teachers to initiate service-learning experiences for their students? c) What benefits, if any, do teachers derive from their service-learning experiences? d) What, if any, academic student benefits do teachers perceive resulting from service-learning experiences? e) What, if any, personal student benefits do teachers perceive resulting from service-learning experiences? and f) What role does administrative leadership play in aiding teachers in sustaining service-learning experiences for their students? This is a phenomenological study. The co-researchers of this study were seven K-12 teachers in central and northwest Ohio who had implemented service-learning in their classrooms in the 24 months prior to the study. I interviewed each co-researcher, transcribed each interview, and used the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen Method of Analysis of Phenomenological Data for data analysis. Three major themes emerged to describe the essence of implementing service-learning from the K-12 teacher’s perspective: a) Connections, b) Resonation in the Heart of the Teacher, and c) The Right Fit with a Teacher’s Philosophy and Teaching Style. Connections explains the extreme importance of creating, maintaining, extending, and nurturing connections between teachers and other people with whom they work, between teachers and their students, between teachers and other teachers, between the different areas of the curriculum, and between teachers and members of the community-at-large. The second emergent theme is Resonation in the Heart of the Teacher, which involves a deep, personal belief about the importance of making a positive difference in the world, and teaching this belief to students. The third emergent theme is The Right Fit with Teaching Philosophy and Teaching Style, which explains the importance of creating a well-balanced, harmonious relationship between service-learning and a teacher’s philosophy about teaching involving being centered on the students themselves, not just the content, and a teacher’s experiential teaching style.
Krebs, Marjori, "Service-Learning: Motivations for K-12 Teachers" (2006). Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations. 11.