A Grounded Theory Investigation into the Process and Effects of Service-Learning in Counselor Education

Joseph A. Stewart-Sicking, Jill L. Snodgrass, Rochelle Pereira, Wairimu W. Mutai, Robin Crews


Service-learning is an approach to experiential learning that is relatively unexplored among graduate students. The authors of this study sought to understand the process and effects of service-learning among 76 graduate counseling students enrolled in an “Introduction to Community Counseling” course over three semesters, 40 of whom engaged in service-learning. Analyzing students’ reflection papers, projects, and blog entries via a grounded-theory approach, the study generated a model of how service-learning impacted these students’ learning and sense of counselor identity. Students went through a process of development: They began with personal engagement, became overwhelmed, readjusted their expectations, and then reconstructed their individual counselor identities.


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