Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



The population of the U.S. is becoming increasingly diverse in language and culture. And, the population of students in elementary and secondary schools is becoming more diverse, as well. Therefore, it is critical that pre-service teachers (PSTs) experience and understand other cultures. Teachers will need to become more inter-culturally competent (ICC). According to Hammer & Bennett (2010), ICC is "the capability to accurately understand and adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonality.” One way to do this is for PSTs to participate in Service Learning. According to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC), service learning is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (NSLC, 2012). This study responded to the question: Do different types of Service Learning have different impacts on changes in inter-cultural competence of pre-service teachers? The data set included more than 800 students who took the general education course, Human Relations in a Multicultural Society. Students completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) at the beginning and at the conclusion of the semester (Hammer, Bennett, & Wiseman, 2003). This study analyzed several types of Service Learning that may have impacted the pretest and posttest results. Service Learning opportunities included 18 hours of volunteer work at organizations such as residences for disabled adults, English language tutoring of immigrants and refugees, home visits with children of new immigrants, and others. The university may use this information in considering the effectiveness of its cultural diversity goal: experience diversity with supervised reflection and recognize and respond to conditions of marginalized populations. University departments will use the information in planning, evaluating, and promoting opportunities in the community.

Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Sandell