Roberts, R., & Edwards, M. C. (2018). Imaging service-learning in The Agricultural Education Magazine from 1929 to 2009: implications for the method’s reframing and use. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(3), 15-35


Service-learning’s (SL) discourse is written as a story of victory, achievement, and transformation in school-based, agricultural education (SBAE). The resources dedicated to improving both learning and communities through SL can be significant. Little work, however, has been put forth to examine this victory narrative’s underlying assumptions and implications. Therefore, the purpose of this historical investigation was to explore how SL was imaged in The Agricultural Education Magazine (The Magazine) from 1929 to 2009. Through the analysis of data, SL’s imaging in The Magazine appears to have been positioned through three distinct lenses: (a) societal, (b) pedagogical, and (c) social justice. In societally imaged SL, actors emphasized the importance of shaping young adolescents into productive citizens to meet the demands of their society. Meanwhile, the pedagogical lens emerged in response to calls for improved instructional effectiveness; consequently, practitioners and scholars outlined how SL could be used to enhance students’ academic achievement. The final lens, social justice, arose as a way to address equity, race, and privilege in agricultural education. Based on these conclusions, we offer implications and recommendations that may help reframe SL to respond to contemporary issues and trends in SBAE.

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