What is it?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (servicelearning.org).
Allows students to:
- Enhance Both Theoretical and Practical Understanding
Service Learning creates an experience that offers students the opportunity to compare theory with reality. What they read and hear in class has new meaning as students apply academic material and begin to construct their own knowledge.
- Deepen Commitments to Community Involvement
Academic involvement in the community decreases a student's isolation from social and political issues facing the community. Interacting with the community allows students to learn about its struggles and resources. Students then develop a broader awareness, a sense of civic responsibility and a connection to the larger community, all of which expand classroom learning.
Allows faculty to:
- Reinvigorate a Course
Service-learning is a unique pedagogy that can be new and exciting for both the teacher and learner. It provides the instructor with another resource.
- Deepen a Student's Understanding
By incorporating service into a class, course content takes on new meaning as students have the real-world upon which to reflect. Students will have different experiences to bring to class, creating the potential for a more engaging and diverse learning environment.
- Connect with the Community
Interacting with the community provides exposure to local issues and a chance to develop an enriching reciprocal relationship with people and resources.
Allows the Community to:
- Be a Partner
The community can be an equal partner in educating students with community-based learning. Breaking down the division between the school and community allows community members to share their perspective and experience.
- Meet their Needs
In a positive partnership such as service-learning, community organizations benefit from the knowledge, creativity, and enthusiasm students contribute to a project. The connection with the college may enable non-profit agencies to increase their visibility and more effectively reach their goals.