What is Service Learning?
Service-learning offers a unique opportunity for America's young people -- from kindergarten to university students -- to get involved with their communities in a tangible way by integrating service projects with classroom learning. Service-learning engages students in the educational process, using what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. Students not only learn about democracy and citizenship, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.
Service-learning can be applied across all subjects and grade levels; it can involve a single student or group of students, a classroom or an entire school. Students build character and become active participants as they work with others in their school and community to create service projects in areas like education, public safety, and the environment.
What does Service Learning look like?
· Positive, meaningful and real to the participants
· Involves cooperative rather than competitive experiences as it promotes skills associated with teamwork and community involvement and citizenship
· Addresses complex problems in complex situations vs. simplified problems in isolation
· Promotes deeper learning because the results are immediate and uncontrived. There are no "right answers" in the back of the book!
· Offers opportunities to engage in problem solving by requiring participants to gain knowledge of the specific context of their service learning activity and community challenges
· Projects are personally meaningful and are likely to generate emotional consequences, to challenge values and ideas, and to support social, emotional, and cognitive development
What Service Learning is NOT:
· An episodic volunteer program
· An add on to an existing program
· Logging a set number of community service hours in order to graduate
· Compensatory service assigned as a form of punishment by the courts or schools
· Only for high school or college students
· One sided: benefiting only students or only the community