Moore, T. (2021). Reclaiming Our Legacy: A Qualitative Study of Service-learning and Learning About Service Through The Experiences of African American Women Educators in Urban Schools. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
As the number of minority students in public schools increases in the U.S., the teacher workforce and administration remain majority White. Increased access to service-learning will help mitigate opportunity gaps that exist in marginalized communities. Service-learning combines academic coursework with volunteer community service experiences, which can be beneficial to in-service and pre-service teachers. Changing the structure of service-learning opportunities to include the voices of African American women is critical to expanding the structure of volunteer efforts, specifically within urban school environments. Using Seidman’s In-Depth Interview Protocol, this research explored the experiences of African American women educators with service-learning and volunteering in local communities and schools. The study examined how Black women educators saw service-learning and volunteering as part of their identities. The findings indicate that service is central to their definitions of social justice work in education and beyond through the concepts of: (a) giving back, (b) serving, (c) family, (d) Black womanhood, (e) leadership and (f) spirituality. The results of this study illustrate how educators’ lived experiences expand conceptions of service. The participants viewed service-learning as being crucial to student and teacher success in urban environments. Keywords: service-learning, critical service-learning pedagogy, social justice, volunteerism