Service-Learning: What is it?
Service-Learning is a pedagogical approach which includes experiential learning via meaningful community service paired with classroom instruction and reflection. It is meant to enrich the academic learning experience for the students, teach civic responsibility, and help the local community with identified needs.
Service-learning is different from volunteer and co-curricular activities in the following ways:
- Service-learning is an integral part of the course
- Service activities are directly related to curriculum goals
- Reflection is an integral component
- The learning component intentionally fosters a sense of social responsibility and commitment to the community
Service-Learning Standards are identified as:
- Effective service-learning efforts strengthen service and academic learning.
- Model service-learning provides concrete opportunities for youth to learn new skills, to think critically and to test new roles in an environment which encourages risk-taking and rewards competence.
- Preparation and reflection are essential elements in service-learning.
- Students' efforts are recognized by their peers and the community they serve.
- Students are involved in the planning.
- The service students perform makes a meaningful contribution to the community.
- Effective service-learning integrates systematic formative and summative evaluation.
- Service-learning connects school and its community in new and positive ways.
- Service-learning is understood and supported as an integral element in the life of a school and its community. Skilled adult guidance and supervision is essential to the success of service-learning.
- Pre-service and staff development which includes the philosophy and methodology of service-learning best ensure that program quality and continuity are maintained.
(ASLER Standards for School-Based Service-Learning)