“It’s not just about improving my Spanish.” Student Perceptions of Service Learning
Keywords:advanced learners, pedagogy, service learning, Spanish
In the last few decades, service learning (SL) has emerged as an instructional model that facilitates connections between learning experiences in and outside the classroom, and highlights the socio-political nature of language use (Grim, 2010; Bettencourt, 2015; Moreno-López et. al, 2017). However, its effective and relevant curricular implementation remains a challenge for educators. This exploratory paper examines how SL impacts advanced learners’ beliefs, attitudes, and motivation towards learning Spanish, as well as their ability to connect their service experiences with course content. Findings show that learners evaluate service experiences through a proficiency-based lens, where the success of their experiences depended on the amount of Spanish used and perceived improvements in proficiency. Additionally, while participants were frequently able to connect their SL experiences with course content, they did not necessarily recognize those learning moments as beneficial.
American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (2019). Statement on Diversity and
Inclusion in World Language Teaching and Learning.
Bettencourt, M. (2015). Supporting Student Learning Outcomes Through Service Learning, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12147
Foreign Language Annals, 48(3), 473-490.
Carracelas-Juncal, C. (2013). When service-learning is not a" border-crossing" experience:
Outcomes of a graduate Spanish online course. Hispania, 96(2), 295-309.
Dörnyei, Z. (1994). Motivation and motivating in the foreign language classroom. The Modern DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/330107
Language Journal, 78(3), 273-284.
Freed, B. (1987). Preliminary Impressions of the Effects of a Proficiency‐Based Language DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.1987.tb02932.x
Requirement. Foreign Language Annals, 20(2), 139-146.
Gardner, R.C. (1985). Social Psychology and Second Language Learning: The Role of Attitudes
and Motivation. London: Edward Arnold.
Gardner, R. C. (1991). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. In Bilingualism,
multiculturalism, and second language learning: The McGill Conference in honour of
Wallace E. Lambert (pp. 43-63). Erlbaum.
Gardner, R.C. (2007). Motivation and second language acquisition. Porta Linguarum, 8, 9-20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30827/Digibug.31616
Grassi, E., Hanley, D., & Liston, D. (2004). Service-learning: An innovative approach for second DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/105382590402700107
language learners. Journal of Experiential Education, 27(1), 87-110.
Grey, S., & Jackson, C. (2020). The Effects of Learners' Perceptions and Affective Factors on L2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.2018-0209
Learning Outcomes. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 76(1), 2-30.
Grim, F. (2010) Giving Authentic Opportunities to Second Language Learners: A Look at a DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01104.x
French Service-Learning Project, Foreign Language Annals, 43(4), 605-623.
Huebner, T. & A. Jensen. (2008). A Study of Foreign Language Proficiency‐Based Testing in
Secondary Schools, Foreign Language Annals, 25(2), 105-115.
Hummel, K. (2013). Target-Language Community Involvement: Second-Language Linguistic DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.1152
Self-Confidence and Other Perceived Benefits. The Canadian Modern Language Review,
Johnson, S. M., & Randolph, L. J., Jr. (2015). Critical pedagogy for intercultural communicative
competence: Getting started. The Language Educator, 10(3), 36–39.
Kostogriz, A. & G. Tsolidis (2008). Transcultural literacy: Between the global and the local. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14681360802142054
Pedagogy, Culture and Society 16(2), 125–136.
Leeman, J. (2007). The value of Spanish: Shifting ideologies in United States language teaching. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1632/adfl.38.1.32
ADFL Bulletin, 38(1–2), 32–39.
Llombart-Huesca, A. & Pulido, A. (2017). Who Needs Linguistics? Service-Learning and
Linguistics for Spanish Heritage Language Learners. Hispania, 100( 3), 348-360.
Mayring, P. (2004). Qualitative Content Analysis. In Flick, U., von Kardorff, E., Steinke, I.
(Eds.), A Companion to qualitative research. London: Sage Publications.
Medina, A. & Gordon, L. (2014). Service Learning, Phonemic Perception, and Learner
Motivation: A Quantitative Study. Foreign Language Annals, 47(2), 357-371.
Menard-Warwick, J. (2007). ‘Because she made beds. Every day.’ Social positioning, classroom
discourse and language learning. Applied Linguistics, 29(2), 267–289.
Moreno-López, I., A. Ramos-Sellman, C. Miranda-Aldaco, M.T. Gomis Quinto (2017).
Transforming Ways of Enhancing Foreign Language Acquisition in the Spanish
Classroom: Experiential Learning Approaches, Foreign Language Annals, 50(2),
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change.
Harlow, UK: Pearson Education/Longman.
Norton B. & K. Toohey. (2011). Identity, language learning, and social change. Language DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444811000309
Teaching, 44(4), 412–446
NVivo qualitative data analysis software. (2018). QSR International Pty Ltd. Version 12.
Osa-Melero, L., Fernández, V., & Quiñones, S. (2019). Building Bridges and Creating Pathways:
A Mixed Methods Study of Community-engaged Learning in Foreign Language
Pedagogy. Hispania, 102(3), 357-372.
Osborn, T. (2006). Teaching world languages for social justice: A sourcebook of principles and DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781410617194
practices. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Pak, C. S. (2020). Exploring the Long-term Impact of Service-Learning: Former Students of DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/hpn.2020.0004
Spanish Revisit their Community Engagement Experiences. Hispania, 103(1), 67-85.
Pascual y Cabo, D., Prada, J., & Lowther Pereira, K. (2017). Effects of Community
Service‐Learning on Heritage Language Learners' Attitudes Toward Their Language and
Culture. Foreign Language Annals, 50(1), 71-83.
Randolph, L. J., & Johnson, S. M. (2017). Social Justice in the Language Classroom: A Call to
Action. Dimension, 99-121.
Rodriguez-Sabatar, S. (2015). Service Learning and Intercultural Competence in the Spanish as a
Second Language Classroom. Southern Journal of Linguistics, 39(1), 1-23.
Rosing, H., Reed, S., Ferrari, J., Bothne, N.J. (2010). Understanding student complaints in the
service learning pedagogy. American Journal of Community Psychology, 46(3-4),
Salgado-Robles, F. & George, A. (2019). The Sociolinguistic Impact of Service-learning on
Heritage Learners Sojourning in Spain: Vosotros versus ustedes. Heritage Language
Salgado-Robles, F., & Lamboy, E. M. (2019). The learning and teaching of Spanish as a heritage
language through community service-learning in New York City. Revista signos: estudios
de lingüística, 52(101), 1055-1075.
Schulz, R. (1986). From Achievement to Proficiency through Classroom Instruction: Some DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/341191
Caveats. Hispania, 69(1), 187-193.
Senel, M. T. (2020). Social Justice in the Language Curriculum: Interrogating the Goals and
Outcomes of Language Education in College. Diversity and Decolonization in German
Tocaimaza-Hatch, C. C. (2018). Speaking is doing and doing is learning: vocabulary learning in DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23247797.2018.1458552
service-learning. Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, 5(1), 66-80.
Tocaimaza-Hatch, C. C., & Walls, L. C. (2016). Service-learning as a means of vocabulary
learning for second language and heritage language learners of Spanish. Hispania,
Tschirner, E. & L. K. Heilenman. (2011). Reasonable Expectations: Oral Proficiency Goals for
Intermediate‐ Level Students of German, The Modern Language Journal, 82(2), 147-158.
Ushida, E. (2005). The role of students' attitudes and motivation in second language learning in
online language courses. CALICO journal, 23(1), 49-78.
Zapata, G. (2011). The Effects of Community Service Learning Projects on L2 Learners' Cultural
Understanding. Hispania, 94(1), 86-102.