Critical Service Learning Toolkit: Social Work Strategies for Promoting Healthy Youth Development
Annette Johnson, Cassandra McKay-Jackson, and Giesela Grumbach
Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2018
102 pages (paperback), $24.95, ISBN 978-0-19-085872-8
In their book, Critical Service Learning Toolkit: Social Work Strategies for Promoting Healthy Youth Development, Johnson, McKay-Jackson, and Grumbach provide a step-by-step guide for school practitioners to implement critical service learning (CSL) projects. With many school systems offering, if not requiring, student service opportunities, the authors provide school social workers and other school practitioners a plan for implementing these opportunities with the addition of social justice principles including the democratic process, inequity and power distribution, and community problem solving. As noted in the book, "the goal of CSL is to examine power relations, challenge oppressive institutions, and cultivate in youth the power to take action" (p. 7). These social justice principles make traditional service learning opportunities critical.
A strengths-based perspective is used both in the text of the book and in the procedures described for the implementation of a CSL project. For example, the term at-promise youth replaces the commonly used at-risk youth throughout the book. Critical service learning projects can be used in the Response to Intervention/multi-tier system of support (RTI/MTSS) framework but work best at the tier 2 and tier 1 levels. Additionally, the goals of a CSL project align well with social-emotional learning (SEL) standards to develop self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
This book is an easy read with a succinct introduction including definitions, a description of the theoretical foundation, the rationale for using CSL projects, and the school social worker's role in the project. The remaining chapters detail how to start the CSL project including getting administrative buy-in and recruiting students.
There are five CSL steps:
Preplanning and screening...