Expanding political science's signature pedagogy: The case for service learning

Harris, C. (2012) Expanding political science's signature pedagogy: The case for service learning. European Political Science, 11 (2). pp. 175-185. ISSN 16804333 (ISSN)


Signature pedagogies have been defined as types of teaching that organize the fundamental ways in which future practitioners are educated for their profession (Schulman, 2005: 3). Applying Schulman's definition of signature pedagogies to political science, this article notes that as an academic discipline it does not seek to train students for a specific profession. It also recognises that political science's signature pedagogy is similar to those traditionally associated with the social sciences and humanities: mass lectures, small tutorials and private study. In recent times newer pedagogies such as problem-based learning, experiential learning and service learning have been introduced in political science programmes to marry theory and practice and promote critical thinking and independent learning. This article focuses on one such approach, service learning, assessing the contribution it can make to teaching in political science with reference to an analysis of its effects in a postgraduate module on democratic civic education in University College Cork, Ireland. © 2012 European Consortium for Political Research.

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