Date of Award

Fall October 2011

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Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Refugio Rodriguez

Second Advisor

Franca Dell'Olio

Third Advisor

Emilio Pack


Service-learning, an experiential learning and teaching pedagogy, provides students and teachers the opportunity to take classroom knowledge and put it to work in real world applications in the greater community. This qualitative case study dissertation explored the expected and unexpected outcomes of a service-learning program at an urban charter high school. Through a review of current literature, the history of service-learning is traced from its modern roots to present day incarnations. Grounded in the overlapping frameworks of pragmatic constructivist theory and practice, and service-learning with a social justice model, best practices were examined through interviews and focus groups of current students and students who have completed the SL program. The findings to the three research questions suggested: The expected outcomes addressed activism, awareness, and social development; the unexpected outcomes spoke to the development of interpersonal transformations surpassing expectations and agency, unexpected contentbased outcomes, and unexpected abstract outcomes; the implementation data focused on the need for institutional support and adaptability. Recommendations for future implementation were also discussed.

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