Service-Learning Pedagogy As An Instructional Tool for Latino Student Education

Open Access
Author:
Martin, Centrice
Graduate Program:
Applied Youth, Family, and Community Education
Degree:
Master of Education
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 04, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Nicole Sheree Webster, Thesis Advisor
  • John Ewing, Thesis Advisor
  • Mayra Y Bamaca, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • service-learning
  • charter schools
  • Latino education
  • critical thinking
Abstract:
Interested in improving academic achievements for Hispanic students, this study was initiated to conclude if service-learning pedagogy is a viable practice for improving student learning. US traditional schools have been providing a quality education and resources to students for many years. However, too many urban minority youth, such as Latino and Hispanic students, are performing at lower levels of achievement in today’s public education institutions. America’s schools are being pressured to design and implement new teaching methods that increase academic performance and improve the educational experience this population of students. Searching for innovative strategies that effectively increase critical thinking skills for Hispanic students in middle school grades, the research question was designed to examine the impact a service-learning pilot program had on these students’ critical thinking skills. In analyzing the frequencies for the matched paired t-test, the results of the data were presented in three sections that included the following: (1) Lighthouse Community Charter School and East Austin Prep with a total sample size of 71 participants (2) East Austin Prep with a sample size of 50 participants (3) Lighthouse Community Charter School with a sample size of 21 participants. Findings from both participating charter schools with service-learning participants reported service-learning pedagogy to be a viable instructional tool for increasing critical thinking skills for Latino students. Findings suggest that teachers can incorporate this pedagogy in their classrooms to increase Hispanic students’ critical thinking skills. Service-learning can be integrated into classroom curricula as a teaching strategy that increases academic knowledge and critical thinking skills for students. Evidence from this study indicate that service-learning is a powerful, significant tool for developing essential lifelong learning skills such as critical thinking for our diverse student population specifically Latino students.