Transforming Service Learning for Global Citizenship Education: Moving from Affective-Moral to Social-Political

Yulia Nesterova, Liz Jackson


This paper seeks to elaborate an alternative, empowering model of service learning for GCE that helps students relate to one another in more just ways. Our model emphasizes the student/global citizen as an autonomous, political subject, shifting concern from the ‘affective-moral’ to the ‘social-political’, drawing on ideas of justice propagated by John Rawls. Three principles we use to reframe GCE are (1) minimization of self-interest from moral choices, (2) respect for diversity of views, legitimate conflict of interests, and right to decide, and (3) recognition of others as autonomous. Such a model can frame South-North and South-South transfer as alternatives to North-South models, and can be useful for enhancing service learning dimensions of national-level citizenship. The paper begins with an analysis of service learning for GCE and some of the opportunities and challenges found in commonly used North-South transfer models. After that, it discusses Rawls’s ideas of justice and fair terms of cooperation for cross-cultural communication, and maps three principles for an alternative model for GCE. Each principle has educational implications, though each also poses new pedagogical challenges. The paper concludes with reflections on the kind of global citizen constructed and the implications of our model for students, their view of the world, and actions for social justice.


Global Citizenship Education; Service Learning; Intercultural Competence; John Rawls; Student Exchange

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