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Service Defined

Page history last edited by Jon Raimon 11 years, 3 months ago

What is Community Service?

 

An effort or activity that engages people in addressing genuine needs in their communities, from their school to their town to their neighborhood to their nation to the wider world. 

 

What is Service Learning?

 

An approach to teaching and learning that prompts students to identify a genuine need in a community and then research and analyze that need, which then leads them to put forward and carry out possible ways to fill that need.  As with community service, the community could be as small as their classroom or as large as the planet.

 

 

Two examples that highlight the difference between Community Service and Service Learning:

 

Example # 1

 

Community Service – handing out items at food pantry

 

Learning – reading novels and memoirs related to poverty, such as The Grapes of Wrath, Bastard Out of Carolina, or Black Boy

 

Service Learning – integrating what one learned from the novels into reflections on the time at the food pantry, including crafting a project for the food pantry that breaks down barriers based on social class.  It could be, for example, a book of poetry, artwork and personal narratives that the students and people at the food pantry created together; the book could be used to gather funds for the food pantry, as well as raising awareness about poverty and related issues.   

 

Example # 2

 

Community Service – planting trees in a urban area

 

Learning – studying ecology in the classroom

 

Service Learning – spreading awareness about the environmental benefits of planting trees in urban areas through community presentations, artwork, etc.

 

Is Service Learning always superior to Community Service?

 

No.  There are times when we just want to jump into a situation to help out.  It would be silly to require that each gesture of service requires deep reflection and ties to the curriculum.  However, generally speaking, service learning is preferable if one is aiming to deepen the meaning of both the student's academics and her or his time volunteering. 

 

 

 

 

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