Developing Social Justice Outcomes Through Service Learning Among Sport Management Students

in Sport Management Education Journal
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  • 1 Department of Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA
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Service learning has been recognized as a high-impact educational practice that promotes students’ development of civic engagement and social justice outcomes. However, service-learning courses are not guaranteed to foster social justice outcomes and may perpetuate the very biases and stereotypes that social justice education is designed to counter. In addition, there is a lack of research assessing service-learning courses in sport management that are being used to promote a more critical form of social justice education rather than the mere awareness of social disparities. This article explores the ways in which an intentionally designed social justice service-learning course can potentially lead sport management students toward more equitable perceptions of service relationships. The research team analyzed reflection papers (N = 40) from students who each participated in one semester of the service-learning course across nine consecutive semesters. The following themes emerged from the data: charity-oriented relationship, social justice-oriented relationship, reciprocity, and a critique of paternalism. The findings in this study extend current sport management service-learning research by revealing how a social justice service-learning course can foster a more critical understanding of service through critical discussions, specific readings, critical reflection, and service activities.

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