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.

What are the goals of service-learning?

Service-learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. As they participate in their community service projects, actively meeting the needs of communities, youth develop practical skills, self-esteem, and a sense of civic responsibility.

How does service-learning differ from community service or volunteering?

Community service is volunteer action taken to meet the needs of others and better the community as a whole. Service-learning is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of students engaged in service, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled. Service-learning provides structured time for thoughtful planning of the service project and guided reflection by participants on the service experience. Overall, the most important feature of effective service-learning programs is that both learning and service are emphasized. (courtesy www.servicelearning.org)

SERVICE-LEARNING:

  • Meets identified community needs.
  • Is coordinated between the University and community partner(s).
  • Provides structured time for individuals to reflect about what they did during the service activity and the connection between in-class and out-of-class learning. (Note: efforts should be made to as sure that community partners also have time to reflect with students on the experience.)
  • Promotes cognitive as well as affective growth and development.
  • Enhances what is taught (and learned) elsewhere by extending the learning environment beyond what is usually consider to be its “normal limits.”
  • Helps foster caring for others.

(adapted from AmeriCorps NCCC, Service-Learning Resource Kit)