Teaching civic engagement: Evaluating an integrative service-learning program

Jed Metzger


The demands on successfully teaching intervention skills in macro (community) environments are numerous and extend beyond the confines of any one academic discipline. In particular, when considering community, the compounding of the multiple factors of social economics, diversity, social policy, history and political agendas requires an integrative approach. This mixed-methods retrospective article analyses the use of service-learning in an advanced Master of Social Work community practice course. Special attention is given to the construction of academic and community experience that facilitates learning integration and understanding of the ways in which factors compound on community wellbeing. Specifically this project involved students in efforts constructed to address violence directed by and against inner-city youth in a mid-sized northeastern city in the United States that is beset with gang violence and has led its state in per capita murders for four of the past five years. Recommendations and lessons learned presented in this article are directed at exploring a construction of service-learning that could address integrative learning in community intervention courses.

Keywords: Service-learning, teaching, macro practice, violence

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