Preservice Teachers Working with English Language Learners: A Meta-Synthesis of Service- Learning as an Effective Pedagogical Tool


  • Anita Toronyi University of Windsor



Service-learning (SL) has been validated throughout many studies as a productive experience to encourage relationship building between institutions and the community with measurable results. The aim of this meta-synthesis is to identify the underlying principles that promote (SL) learning in higher education with English Language Learners (ELLs) as a successful pedagogical tool. After the thorough examination of 12 research articles that focused on the experiences of preservice teachers (PSTs) with ELLs, five synthesized findings have surfaced: heightened teacher awareness, recognition of cultural capital, reciprocity of the SL experience, the importance of linguistically relevant teaching (LRT), and the power of authenticity. The data not only solidify the relevance SL with ELLs as a pedagogical tool, but also raise awareness regarding the significance of exposing all PSTs to such experiences in order to prepare them for the mainstream classrooms of the 21st century.   

Keywords: service-learning, higher education, preservice teachers, English Language Learners

Author Biography

Anita Toronyi, University of Windsor

Anita Toronyi is a German Sessional Instructor at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures as well as an ESL Service Learning Instructor at the Faculty of Education at University of Windsor. Anita is also pursuing her PhD. at the Faculty of Education at University of Windsor.