Critical "Whiteness" In Education Essay

1175 words - 5 pages

Theoretical Framework of the Study
As seen in the previous literature, empirical research in the last twenty years reveals the positive student outcomes associated to service-learning. However, as Susan Jones (2002) argues, “the student’s ability to engage with all aspects of their service-learning courses depends on the interaction of their own sociocultural backgrounds, developmental readiness for such learning to occur, and the privileging conditions that situate college students in community service organizations in the first place.”Accordingly, different complexities may emerge when students “engage with ill structured, complex social issues present in the community service settings typically associated with service-learning courses” (Jones, Gilbride-Brown, & Gasiorski, 2005, p. 4). Jones refers to this trend as the underside of service-learning, which includes previous held assumptions, stereotypes, and privileges. As a result, resistance emerges as a student process of negotiating their identity while making meaning out of the service-learning experience. Nevertheless, the aforesaid discussion occurs when approaching service-learning as a critical pedagogy that strives for social justice (p. 7). In other words, when designing a service-learning curriculum to help students develop self-awareness, awareness of others, awareness of social issues, and developing ethics of service and social change.
In order to examine service-learning from the perspective of student resistance, Jones proposes a new model: The Critical Developmental Lens. In doing so, different profiles of student resistance emerge, such as The Good Volunteer, a student who enjoys serving in the community but sees no connections to the class concepts and theories; The Politely Frustrated Volunteer, or student who recognizes social inequalities but expresses no sense of individual responsibility for addressing complex social issues; and The Active Resister, a student who argues conceptualizations presented in class in a confrontational way (pp. 11-14).
The Critical Developmental Lens
Jones’ Critical Developmental Lens anchors in the literatures of self-authorship and critical whiteness theories. According to Baxter Magolda (1999), self-authorship is “an ability to construct knowledge in a contextual world, an ability to construct an internal identity separate from external influences, and an ability to engage in relationships without losing one’s internal identity” (p. 12). Put differently, self-authorship explains the struggle individuals go through while making meaning out of their own beliefs, identity, and relationships.
Magolda identifies three dimensions which answer the three simple questions that an individual faces during his/her journey toward self-authorship: 1) Epistemological, which assists the individual to answer the “how do I know” question (The Crossroads). In this phase, an individual moves from feelings of unsatisfied and in need of self-definition...

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