What is Service Learning?
Service Learning is a teaching methodology that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service through careful integration with established academic curricula.
Authentic Service Learning should:
- Link service and academic learning
- Provide concrete opportunities for youth to learn new skills, think critically and test new roles
- Encourage students to perform service that makes a contribution to the community
- Create a stream of service that is ongoing and valuable to the community, school, and the student
- Involve "youth voice" from the beginning
- Actively involves students in service experiences that meet community needs
- Is integrated into the studentís academic curriculum
- Provides structured time for students to think, talk, or write about their experiences
- Provides students with the opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-life situations in their communities
- Extends learning beyond the classroom into the community and helps foster a sense of caring for others
Why is Service Learning effective?
Service Learning is an effective teaching methodology because it:
- Promotes personal and social development
- Makes academic learning fun
- Cultivates civic responsibility
- Connects students with the community
- Exposes students to careers
- Provides hands on experience
What are the benefits of Service Learning to students?
Students benefit from Service Learning because it:
- Adds relevance to academic learning
- Builds positive self-esteem
- Promotes social and interpersonal skills
- Values civic engagement
- Provides for career exploration
What are the benefits of Service Learning to teachers?
Using Service Learning strategies as a teaching methodology benefits teachers because:
- The curriculum is broadened and deepened to create a richer context for learning
- As students gain responsibility for their learning, teachers gain new responsibilities as mentors, facilitators and guides
- Students become more actively engaged in their learning therefore teaching becomes more rewarding and fun
What are the benefits of Service Learning to communities?
Communities benefit from schools and teachers using Service Learning strategies as a teaching method because:
- It contributes to community development and renewal
- Recipients of service benefit from direct aid, human involvement and personal empowerment
- Agencies receive and infusion of creativity and enthusiasm from participating youth
- It helps students become more vested in their communities and to become community minded individuals
- As youth contribute through service to the common good, they are increasingly seen as one of the communities greatest resources and treated accordingly
- Civically engaged youth are likely to become civically engaged adults
What is Learn and Serve America?
Learn and Serve is an established funding stream administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service to promote Service Learning in schools and communities.