Chapter 25: Community-based learning: Benefits of moving beyond the classroom
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Instructors utilizing community-based learning (CBL) attempt to connect academic content and student field placements through critical reflection. Sociology’s attention to the causes and consequences of social structures is an exemplary fit alongside CBL pedagogy. Simultaneously, CBL holds the promise to bring sociological concepts and theories to life for students. I describe the strengths and challenges of developing CBL courses for sociology instructors through three social justice-oriented dimensions: the development of authentic relationships, reducing power dynamics, and student embodiment of social change (Mitchell 2008). In the process, I highlight ways CBL can continue to advance, including: (a) prioritizing the development of long-term CBL partnerships, (b) a call for more reflective scholarly work documenting the partnership development process to aid interested instructors, and (c) creatively structuring CBL efforts to directly engage students in social change work and, in the process, to come closer to realizing the social justice aspirations of CBL pedagogy-based sociology courses.

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