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Developing a Service-Learning Curriculum for Linguistics



Service-learning integrates community service into a credit-earning course to enrich the learning experience and pair practice with theory in some content area. Linguistics courses offer tremendous potential for service-learning because there are a variety of ways in which language-related theory can be put into practice. This paper outlines the development of a service-learning curriculum for linguistics courses. While examples come from a project where students tutored adult second language learners of English, the activities in this paper extend well to other linguistics courses. Reflection is essential to service-learning, so necessary background and examples of it as a structured learning tool appear here. A second assessment tool, an anonymous online survey taken before and after tutoring, was used to explore any impact on language and diversity attitudes. More generally, service-learning has the potential to positively affect career development, to generate a sense of civic engagement, to facilitate greater understanding of other cultures and races and to make a difference in local communities.