Service Learning Strategies in Latin American Politics
Community-based experiences for college students have been increasingly utilized in higher education courses over the last ten years. In the discipline of Political Science, such experiences have been especially relevant as they focus on civic participation, which is directly related to the pedagogy of Political Science. The author has begun utilizing such approaches in the teaching of Latin American Politics. This paper will overview the existing literature (including syllabi as well as professional publications) and will discuss the author’s experiences (including particular service learning opportunities and the linkage between those activities and the students’ academic curriculum). For students in the United States, the study of Latin American Politics presents more obstacles to the application of community-based learning than in the case of U.S. Politics. Specifically, issues of accessibility, language, and others are an advantage within the U.S. context (or in the context of anyone’s own nation). On the other hand, issues of civic involvement and participation are challenging in comparative politics. The author will examine efforts to address those obstacles. The American Political Science Association states that service learning should stress the development of students’ participation and leadership on their campuses, in their communities, and in the larger society. This paper will explore the next level of community service in terms of different cultures, societies, and nation-states.
Keywords: Service Learning, Latin American Politics, Active Learning, Community-Based Experiences, Civic Participation
Prof. Dale Story
Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington