What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning combines civic engagement with academic coursework in a way that benefits both the student and the community. It is an effective teaching method to help students become active, responsible citizens because it exposes students to the needs of the larger society, engages them in addressing those needs through community service, and connects what they learn in the classroom to the real world.
Students are taught to reflect upon why such conditions exist and what their democratic responsibilities are in addressing them.
Structured reflection connects and reinforces in-class work, text book readings, and civic/community engagement experiences. It provides an opportunity to think critically about civic experiences, and a platform to challenge current solutions to community issues while developing better plans to address community needs.
Through structured reflection, students to develop a deeper understanding of course subject matter outside the traditional classroom environment.
What is the Difference Between Service-Learning, Volunteering, and Internships?
- Volunteering requires a commitment to serve others, but is not focused on specific educational outcomes for those who do the service, although educational benefits may accrue. Volunteering is not designed to be an academic experience. There is no opportunity for reflection.
- Internships are structured experiences in a discipline usually requiring a sequence of prior courses and knowledge base.
- Service-learning does not require prior coursework or skill development in order for students to participate in this pedagogy.