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Abstract

This article describes what undergraduate students learned from school teachers involved in a cultural based service-learning program. Forty-four undergraduate students enrolled in an educational psychology course at a private, metropolitan University were paired with 30 teachers and provided tutoring and mentoring activities to the children in their classrooms over the course of the semester at the West or East School located in Chester, Pennsylvania. The results from a preliminary survey indicate that undergraduate students increase their civic action attitudes, problem-solving skills, multigroup and ethnic identity, community self-efficacy, and academic and community engagement from the beginning to the end of the term. Undergraduate students acquired confidence in their communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Undergraduate students also developed their ethnic identity and made connections to the academic community and beyond to the broader University community. The results further indicate that the service context influences students’ critical thinking and social responsibility. Undergraduate students assigned to the West School had higher post service ratings of their application skills and community responsibility compared to those assigned to the East School. Teachers’ reports confirm that undergraduate students demonstrate cultural competence and community engagement in their service activities at both the West and East School.

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