Problematic attributes of providing development aid in International Service-Learning (ISL) placements exist with its paternalistic implications. Broadening the discussion of ISL by shifting the focus toward prioritizing the incorporation of goals of cross-cultural learning and fostering cultural humility addresses these problematic attributes. Approaching ISL placements with a learning mindset inverts the service-learning model by emphasizing learning over helping. Additionally, cultivating a deeper self-awareness and learning from the host communities prior to offering service encourages cultural humility, enhances the ability to remain open to different perspectives, and sustains engagement as a lifelong learner. A framework for developing international education experiences with a systems-oriented approach is proposed: one that acknowledges the interdependent relationships with others in global social and economic structures. The proposed framework applies Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti’s HEADS UP educational tool for critical engagement in global social justice issues. Transformative learning theory guides the process of perspective transformation and invites students to critically reflect on their own values, assumptions, and cultural beliefs. The intent is to establish a model for ISL placements which invites respectful collaboration across cultural differences and imbalances in power relations.
Elfenbein, J. (2020), "Learn First, Then Serve: Re-focusing the International Service-learning Model to Develop Cultural Humility", Sengupta, E., Blessinger, P. and Makhanya, M. (Ed.) Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs: International Perspectives on Humanizing Higher Education (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 141-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120200000027012Download as .RIS
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