Advances in Service-Learning Research with English Language Learners



Background: Research on service-learning with English Language Learners has blossomed over the last two decades, but the literature is not well known outside the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This is unfortunate in a world where issues related to globalization and immigration are common in public discourses. Purpose: This literature review is intended to provide readers with a succinct overview of an area of growing importance. Methodology/Approach: Using a previously published bibliography of the field, supplemented by searches of ERIC, MLA, and WorldCAT databases and Google Scholar, a meta-analysis of the literature was conducted. Results and representative reports are summarized for higher education settings, from language institutes and two-year colleges to graduate teacher education courses. Findings/Conclusions: The findings show service-learning leads to small but significant gains in second language teaching and learning, and has positive impacts on the communities in which English Language learners and teachers serve. Implications: The findings can inform the work of professionals in higher education and the community in the design and assessment of programs for linguistically and culturally diverse learners, as well as political and ideological discussions of multiculturalism and multilingualism.