Reflections on Community-Based Research Learning to Practice what we Preach

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Samuel Bullard


During a science class in a Midwestern middle-school, a group of students gathered around a computer monitor and listened to a story from one of the students’ parents describing the use of plants in their culture. Once the video ended, the teacher asked the student to translate the story from Somali and explain what their parent said. Excitedly, they explained the various ways that herbs and spices are ground into medicinal teas. In situations like this, students find themselves in unique but infrequent engagements to science curriculum which allow the free expression of cultural and personal values. A pedagogy of reciprocity is often composed of these fleeting moments - brief, subtle transfers of knowledge from parents, to students, to teachers, and so on. Such a strategy would aim to help students rewrite their schema of what ‘knowledge’ really is, a fluid, dynamic product of people’s interactions, rather than a static unit of a formal structure gatekept by the academically credentialed.

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Bullard, S. (2019). Reflections on Community-Based Research: Learning to Practice what we Preach. Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research , 8, 1-9. Retrieved from
Reflective Essays