Service learning is a sort of project that teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (Joe, 2018). Service-Learning incorporated into a course or series of courses by way of a project that has both learning and community action goals. This project is designed via collaboration between faculty and community partners, such as non-governmental organizations or government agencies. The project asks students to apply course content to community-based activities. This gives students experiential opportunities to learn in real-world contexts and develop skills of community engagement while affording community partners opportunities to address significant needs. Vanderbilt University’s Sharon Shields has argued that service learning is “one of the most significant teaching methodologies gaining momentum on many campuses” (Sharon, 2015).
In addition, different grades required different sorts of requirement on fieldwork. For example, in elementary school, fifth-grade students tutored younger students in reading over the course of a school year. The project improved language skills for both younger and older students and helped the tumors develop their organizational and leadership skills; A middle school science class was studying pollution and disease worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to learn about the dangers of radon and how to test for it in homes. To educate the community on hazards, testing, and cleanup, students created an infomercial to share with local schools and community groups and for high school players, due to tackling discrimination against HIV-positive people, they wrote skits that drew parallels between the treatment of people living with AIDS and racial discrimination ("What is Service-Learning? - national youth leadership council", 2018). Following the grades become higher, students contact the community in more in-depth, and they would focus on the more pungent social problems.
The benefit of Service Learning
Service-learning is a form of experiential education that supports deep learning. Through their service-learning activities, students apply classroom knowledge in practical settings to enhance their understanding of class materials. It benefits all participants, students, teachers, academic institutions and their communities. Students gain theoretical knowledge and skills, interpersonal skills and confidence. Teachers can improve their teaching quality, find opportunities for research, and find a way out for professional experience. Service learning supports college and university civic engagement missions to strengthen town/university relations. Community members receive valuable services and institutional support. Students can gain a better understanding of themselves as they explore and develop ways to contribute to their communities. They can build self-confidence and an enhanced commitment to public service.
Types/Examples of Service Learning
There are several types of service learning: Direct Service Learning, Indirect Service Learning, Research-Based Service Learning and Advocacy Service Learning.
First, direct Service Learning is person-to-person, face-to-face service projects in which the students’ service directly impacts individuals who receive the service from the students. Several examples included in it such as tutoring other students and adults, conducting music/art/dance lesson for youth or helping in a homeless shelter (Types of Service Learning, 2018).
Second, long service learning is a kind of work that working on broad issues, environmental projects, or community development–projects that have clear benefits to the community or environment, but not necessarily to individually identified people with whom the students are working (Types of Service Learning, 2018). There are many examples included in long service learning such as compiling the history for history Center or restoring historic structures or helping workers to build low-income housing.
Third, Research-Based Service Learning is a sort of manner that gathering and presenting information on areas of interest and need–projects that find, collect, and report on information that is required (Service Learning, 2018). Typical examples can be found in this kind of manner would be the translation work for the community or gathering information and creating brochures or videos for non-profit or government agencies.
Lastly, Advocacy Service Learning is educating others about topics of public interest–projects that aim to create awareness and action on some issue that impacts the community such as Planning and putting on public forums on items of interest in the city or conducting public information campaigns on points of interest or local needs (Service Learning, 2018).
Limitation of Service Learning
Despite there is so much literature prove that Service Learning does benefit all participants, but there are still limitations exist. These challenges, however, have primarily been masked. "Service learning" benefits and challenges of the 5 Poulin and his colleagues (2006) study showed that students engaged in service learning to their experiences with the community organizations and institutions concerned, these experiences include the working space is insufficient, the structure of the organization is not perfect, the staff role is not clear and the need for additional staff training; these are considered necessary to support service learning. The amount and time required to implement service learning are also considered a potential defect (Donaldson & Daughtery, 2011). Therefore, the service learning project does not meet the goal to the target due to the difference along the working category.
Service-Learning is working in the proceeding. Service-Learning does benefit students and society in multiple aspects, despite there are some restrains still exist through the operation. However, it is still the best manner that helps students garner experience and establishing connection along both sides. Besides, fieldwork improves students’ self-quality, their communication, and practical group skills through the process.
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