I currently have two classes of first-year college students working on a service learning project with a local middle school. This is my second year (third semester) using service learning in my classes. You can read more about why I like service learning in The Benefits of Service Learning.
I want to devote this week’s Notable Notes to what others have to say about the benefits of service learning beginning with Erin Bittman’s great post “Service Learning Is Essential for All Kids—Here’s Why.” In her post she offers some great ideas for service projects for students at a variety of levels. I love the ways that young students can create service learning projects.
Jessica Cambell also offers some great ideas for service learning projects as well as what brought her into this work in her post “Service Learning: Growing Action From the Roots of Passion.” I love how she uses service learning as a stepping stone to still more learning.
In “Empowering Students to Change the World,“ Chase Mielke offers additional insight into the benefits of service learning. He offers a number of skills and lessons that can stem from one service learning experience.
However, it is important to remember that successful and meaningful service learning takes planning, as Suzie Boss notes in “Where’s the Sweet Spot for Service Learning?” There should be a cyclical nature to the service learning experience. The service should spring from the learning and the learning should lead to the service.
Do you engage your students in service learning? What are the benefits and drawbacks to service learning?