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Why, if service learning has “come a long way,” has it not had the impact on the university or on the community that proponents expected? This article details interviews with eight teachers at Virginia Tech who use service learning in their classrooms, with particular attention to the convergence of literacies that occurs when teachers, communities, and students all attempt to work together. While these eight teachers seemed to have a good grasp of the expectations faculty and communities bring to this three-way relationship, they seemed unable to define the expectations students bring to the experience. This mirrors the current scholarship on service learning, which highlights faculty and communities but downplays the role of students. As we continue to work toward sustainable, reflective community partnerships, literacy studies like Barton and Hamilton’s Local Literacies can help us further examine the expectations students bring to service learning projects.



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