Understanding the Key Components of Service Learning

Service learning is teaching and learning approach that combines meaningful community services with instructions and reflection for the purpose of learning experience, strengthen community and teach civic responsibility. The approach is a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students seek to accomplish real objective for the community and deeper understanding and skills by themselves. Student connect social and personal development with cognitive and academic development to enhance understanding. Service learning is incorporated into a series of course by way of a project that has community action and learning goals.

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Research reveals that there are multiple outcomes of service learning including improved social skills, improved psychological well-being, lower levels of delinquent behavior and better cooperation skills in the classroom. The service learning should be conducted in an authentic context where it meets the needs of students, school and the community for the purpose of ensuring undertaken services are meaningful and purposeful. Service learning activities should involve real work to solve problems in the community for students to perform services in the actual setting.

Callahan, J., Root, S., Billig, S., & International K-H Service-Learning Research Conference. (2005). Improving service-learning practice: Research on models to enhance impacts. Greenwich, Conn: Information Age Pub.

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