Service Learning is a form of learning which can be implemented in all areas of study in a college or university.
According to the AACC in 1996, from both practical and philosophical viewpoints, service-learning is a teaching and learning experience that defines itself for everyone who takes part in a service-learning program. The response and reflection of participating students, faculty, and community members form their individual definitions. That will be the touchstone for the enduring meaning of service-learning in education.
“Service-learning is a unique opportunity for students to get involved with their communities in a tangible way through the integration of service projects with classroom learning. Through this process students become engaged in the educational process and are able to apply what they learn in the classroom to problems in the real world as actively contributing citizens. “
Community based service-learning is a multi-faceted teaching and learning strategy and a nationally recognized model with a unique opportunity for collaboration between faculty, students, community partners, and administrators. It is a natural bridge between curricular and experiential learning activities
Community partners provide their expertise, time and energy to the program as they construct opportunities for students to assist in meeting identified community needs. The relevance of these placements is determined in meetings and communications between educators and site supervisors. Site development is a continual part of the effectiveness of service learning. The goal is to provide faculty and students with a diverse list of relevant and stimulating sites while also taking the needs of the community into account. By involvement with community based organizations relevant resources are gathered to develop meaningful course based service opportunities.
Service learning is a type of experiential education. The Kolb model describes the key stages that service-learners will cycle through in their educational processes: 1) concrete experiences, 2) reflective observation, 3) abstract conceptualization, and 4) active experimentation.
Sedlak, Doheny, Panthofer, & Anaya (2003), found in their study that the experience fostered self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-reflection. “ Service-learning places the role of the nurse in a broader context, where the power of nursing presence and advocacy can be fully appreciated. A concern for civic responsibility is newly ignited as opportunities to develop citizenship skills to achieve social change are recognized.”
Because of its connection to content acquisition and student development, service-learning inspires educational institutions to build strong partnerships with community based organizations. Whatever the setting, the core element of service-learning is that it is a beneficial experience for both the providers and recipients
Lack of time is a major potential problem, as teaching in and facilitating a service learning course takes time. Time is also required to form partnerships, prepare students and involve partners in the design and implementation of the course. Lack of involvement of community partners in design and implementation of the service-learning projects can be another potential problem. Clear and open communication can remedy this problem. Regular contact between faculty and the service learning preceptor is necessary in order to deal with issues early. (Bradshaw, M.J. & Lowenstein, A.J., 2011).
‘Teacher as facilitator of learning’ in which teachers guide learners towards resources and sources of knowledge just as much as being the sources of knowledge themselves.
Service-learning can enhance academic learning and have a significant impact on the community if it is done well. Faculty need to guide students so that the work they perform in the community enhances learning of course content.
This diversity of discussions will enable all students to be exposed to higher level thinking skills and in turn increase their critical thinking abilities.
“Service-learning can provide students with “transformational learning experiences.” It increases community understanding among faculty and can bring new directions and confidence to the teaching and scholarly pursuits of the faculty involved. For community partners, participation in service-learning can contribute to economic, operational, and social benefits” (Community-Campus Partnerships for Health).
Explain the definition, theoretical basis and key components of service learning Describe the importance of the partnership in service learning Describe the impact of service learning on students, educators, the community and the educational institution
A form of experiential education: ◦ Is developed, implemented, and evaluated in alliance with community ◦ Responds to community-identified concerns ◦ Attempts to balance service and learning ◦ Enhances curriculum by extending learning Allows application to real-world situations ◦ Provides opportunities for critical reflection (Connors, Kirk Henry, & Seifer, 2000).
A structured learning experience Service-learning: combining community service with explicit learning objectives, ◦ Offers a balance between service preparation, and reflection. and learning objectives Students involved in service- ◦ Places an emphasis on reciprocal learning are expected to provide learning direct community service along ◦ Increases an understanding of the with learning about the context in which the service is provided. content in which clinical and/or Emphasis is placed on the service work occurs connection between the service, ◦ Focuses on the development of the academic coursework, and civic skills students’ roles as citizens. ◦ Addresses community identified concernsAdapted from Community-Campus ◦ Involves community in thePartnerships for Health. service-learning design and implementation
Operationalizes liberal education Involves students in community to provide service ◦ Determined by community ◦ Connected to learning objectives Students gain understanding of people in community ◦ As experts in knowledge Problems and assets belong to them (Bradshaw, M.J. & Lowenstein, A.J., 2011)
Develop relationships Assess assets and needs Choosing partners Developing principle- centered, ethical partnerships Incorporating partnerships (Rieke, E., Seifer, S., & Connors, K. 2000).Community Partners
The following case study focuses on key themes that support positive and effective community-campus partnerships that involve service-learning. The theme presented focuses on finding common ground, negotiating roles, responsibilities and authority, and establishing effective planning processes within a partnership planning group.
A community-campus partnership had been established between an immigrant advocacy group in a neighborhood with a high prevalence of non-English speaking residents and a political science department at a nearby university. The nature of the partnership had been developed through several collaborative projects. Several political science faculty have been doing community outreach work in this neighborhood in alliance with the community partner. As part of one partnership activity, the faculty members and the community partners recognized that immigrants were being excluded from county health services because of the lack of Spanish speaking health care providers and interpreters. The immigrant advocacy group drafted a survey to assess the extent of the problem among its clients with the aim of engaging political science students in a service-learning course to help administer and analyze it.
After reviewing the survey, the political science students presented it to a faculty advisor and noted some concerns about bias in the survey. Suggestions for modification of the survey were outlined and presented to the community group. The suggestions for modification were rejected by the immigrant advocacy group. The community group then announced that they only wanted information they could use to sue the local hospital. They wanted the students to collect this information for them exclusively for the purposes of filing the lawsuit. The students and faculty felt that they were put in a compromised position and withdrew from this particular project. The community group then complained that the “campus” was not living up to its end of the bargain.From: Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education
In this scenario, what could have been done that would have avoided or reduced the impact of conflict between the two partners? How would you address this conflict? Would you find ways to resolve the conflict and preserve the relationship, or would you work with a new community partner? What key lessons in this scenario can be applied to your own partnership? How might you improve the effectiveness of your partnership based on this scenario?From: Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in HigherEducation
Transformational learning experiences ◦ Clarification of values, sense of self Taken more seriously when it’s required Greater gains when non-clinical: ◦ Awareness of determinants of health ◦ Sensitivity to diversity (Hunt, R., 2007). ◦ Knowledge of health policy issues ◦ Leadership development
Develops critical thinking skills (Sedlak, C.A., Doheny, M.O., Panthofer, N. & Anaya, E., 2003).
Primary motivators ◦ Personal values ◦ Belief in improvement of overall learning Enhanced relationships ◦ Students ◦ Community Increased understanding of community issues New directions and confidence in teaching
Service, economic and social benefits Increased awareness of institutional assets/limitations High value placed on relationship with faculty Eager to be seen as teachers and experts (Community-Campus Partnerships for Health).
Enables college to serve the community as partners Provides experiential learning setting in the community Applies educational process to solve human problems and concerns Provides a transition from school to work for students Improves college and community relations
Clear vision, definitions, goals, resources, outcomes Resistance to change Rigid and over-loaded curriculum Lack of roles and rewards for innovation Accepting implications of true partnerships Culture of needs-based and expert approachesChallenges of SL Accept the Challenge!
“Teacher as facilitator of learning” Teachers should have an interest in the subject and be able to explain it to others Concern and respect for students and student learning Provide appropriate assessment and feedback Clear goals and intellectual challenge Learners should have independence, control an active engagement Teachers should be prepared to learn from students
Suitable for: ◦ Any student level ◦ Any program Key elements ◦ Diversity ◦ Cultural understanding
Academic credit is for learning, not for service. Do not compromise academic rigor. Set learning goals for students. Establish criteria for the selection of community service placements. Provide educationally sound mechanisms to harvest the community learning. Provide support for students to learn how to harvest the community learning.
Minimize the distinction between the student‘s community learning role and the classroom learning role. Rethink the faculty institutional role. Be prepared for uncertainty and variation in student learning outcomes. Maximize the community responsibility orientation of the course. (Rieke, E., Seifer, S., & Connors, K. 2000).
Primary stimuli Primary stimuli ◦ Readings ◦ Varies ◦ Lectures Site ◦ Assignments StudentTraditional Service Learning
Powerful pedagogy Contributes to competencies needed Benefits students, faculty, community, institution Community can be effective educators
1. What are some ways 4. Why is the in which Service partnership between the Learning can be or is used community and the in a Nursing Program? institution a critical factor 2. What are the in maintaining Service advantages of using Learning? Service Learning as a 5. How is Service teaching strategy? Learning different from 3. How does Service traditional teaching Learning affect critical methods? thinking?
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