•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Much literature bemoans the attitudes of Generation X (and their successors) toward civic participation (e.g., Putnam, 2000) and indeed education itself (e.g., Sacks, 1996). However, we have found students to be highly engaged when they have opportunities for active learning, such as those found in well designed service learning projects. We see this pedagogy as a small antidote to the sense of powerlessness that often pervades our culture. Drawing on diverse literatures, we explore theoretical reasons for using service-learning and illustrate its usefulness in speech communication basic course. Our discussion is organized around two key themes: (a) connection of self to subject matter, and (b) the connection of self to community. After discussing service learning exemplars in the basic course, we close with cautions about the use of service-learning.