Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kurt Stemhagen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lynn Pelco, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Melanie Buffington, Ph.D.


Using a hybrid portraiture interpretivist case study methodology, this study explores the development of democratic educational values of pre-service teachers who participated in a “nested” service-learning practicum during their first semester in a secondary teacher preparation program. In this nested model, both the pre-service teachers and the middle school students with whom they worked participated in service-learning. The study is in response to the findings of previous researchers that democratic educational values have, in many classrooms, been pushed aside by the pressures of the standardization and accountability movement and by the belief that democratic educational values are critical to a public educational system which supports civic identity and participation. Data collected over the course of one semester included reflective journals, blog postings, observations of the service-learning seminar, observations of teaching practices in the field, and audio-recorded semi-structured interviews. Four participants were interviewed three times each, and all four participants were observed both in the service-learning seminar and in their field placements. While this study did not find that participation in a nested service-learning model led to pre-service teachers becoming active agents of change, it did find that the nested service-learning experience helped the pre-service teachers to begin to lay a solid foundation in their understanding of basic democratic educational values, in their plans to embrace democratic educational values in their future classrooms, and in their view of themselves as democratic educators.


© Margaret Pienkowski

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Date of Submission