Mandating community service

24-Oct-2017 07:33

Service learning combines both experiential learning and community service.

Lifelong learners develop from students who are personally connected with their passion.

The National Youth Leadership Council defines service learning as "a philosophy, pedagogy, and model for community development that is used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards".

These five by-products of learning, as Janet Eyler outlines, are important to the progression of learning in Service-Learning. Giles Jr., who conducted nationwide studies on service-learning, factors which influence its impact on students include placement quality, duration, and reflection. For many advocates of the pedagogy, reflection may symbolize the learning that occurs in the student. Giles provide an example of this opinion in their book, Where's the Learning in Service-Learning?

First there is interpersonal learning, in which students re-evaluate personal values and motivations by channeling a passionate interest to service-learning projects, as well as build a connection and commitment to the community.

The second form is academic material that is taught through practical application and reflective instruction, so that it may be practiced outside classrooms and test-taking.

Students have the chance to practice what they learn in the classroom by encountering life problems and have a chance to develop skill in how to develop solutions for the problems they face.

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The development of learning is the third impact that Eyler explains.Secondly, the usefulness of Service-Learning, according to Eyler, can impact a student for the rest of their lives.Eyler points that learning the material for a test or exam in a classroom is one thing, but actually pulling that knowledge out and using it in new circumstances or in problems that arise in everyday life is another thing.Janet Eyler explains, "it is the product of continuous challenge to old conceptions and reflection on new ways to organize information and use the new material." Thirdly is cognitive development where students are challenged to use critical thinking and problem solving skills in a context that provides additional information and experience for student evaluation, because service-learning deals with numerous problems in complex situations.