Dreaming of Justice: Critical Service Learning and the Need to Wake Up

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Theory Into Practice

Publication Date

Winter 2015

Abstract/ Summary

I examine and question whether the goal, or dream, of service-learning has been actualized in practice. I raise the possibility that what educators dream of—a critical service-learning able to ameliorate persistent real-world inequities—may be a case of their dreaming being fulfilled, rather than their dreams. More specifically, I argue that although the dream of critical service-learning has been incredibly successful at driving research and practice in higher education, it has not fulfilled the goal of impacting the very people and communities educators purport to serve. Thus, the groups most wishing for the success of critical service-learning are those whose dreams are most fulfilled. I offer a set of tenets that, I hope, will encourage educators to dream different dreams.