“We Make the Road by Stumbling”: Aristotle, Service-Learning, and Justice

Roger Bergman

in Catholic Social Learning

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233281
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241736 | DOI:
“We Make the Road by Stumbling”: Aristotle, Service-Learning, and Justice

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This chapter argues for well-integrated service-learning as an effective pedagogy for justice. Students in such programs often report experiencing painful emotions in homeless shelters and other domestic sites where their previously unacknowledged privilege is put in shocking contrast with the hardships faced by the poor. This chapter proceeds in four steps. First, it outlines Kristjánsson's argument for Aristotle as a theoretical source for service-learning. Second, it presents examples of service-learning student outcomes in which painful emotions play a prominent role. Third, it outlines Curzer's argument that Aristotle's path to virtue is a sometimes painful one. This completes the conceptual circle: Aristotle and service-learning; service-learning and painful emotions; painful emotions and Aristotle. Fourth and last, it reflects briefly on what it might mean to disrupt the students' lives through service-learning experiences of injustice in the lives of others.

Keywords: service learning; pedagogy; justice; painful emotions; homeless shelters

Chapter.  5223 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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