Leaning into Discomfort: Understanding Marginalized Children and Youth Through Service Learning

Community Engagement Research

By Lee Anne Block

“Educational Leadership within a Service-learning Framework” is a course structured to create opportunities for developing a teaching identity through service. Its effect on our students’ understanding of their experiences of marginalized children and youth involves complex issues of identity and social position. “Leaning into the discomfort” of social settings that are often unfamiliar and sometimes difficult allows students to pay attention to their own assumptions, question stereotypes, and experience empathy. A critical understanding of their own identities and of social issues that permeate schooling becomes possible.

Keywords: service-learning, marginalized children and youth, teaching identity, discomfort

Service Learning course

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