Which school do you want to support?
Service Learning is a bit of education jargon worth knowing. It describes activities that involve students in structured activities that benefit others while connecting with their school experience in an intentional way. Service learning usually involves taking students outside the school, but whereas field trips are usually about seeing or experiencing something for the student’s benefit, service learning is usually designed to involve the student in something that benefits another.
is a way
of helping others
for a grade.
A small, simple example of service learning is common: many kindergarten classes make a trip to a nearby assisted-living home to sing songs and share smiles. A much greater level of service is required to earn the Eagle Scout badge in Boy Scouts. Some ambitious teachers plan service learning opportunities in a way that folds in academic work such as research, writing, and speaking. Service learning can also create real reasons for teamwork, offering students leadership opportunities and chances to learn about planning and working with others.
Service learning approaches vary widely, making them hard to study. Research about the benefits of service learning is largely anecdotal and suffers from selection bias, but that doesn’t make it wrong. John Mockler, a California education policy expert, often suggests that when it is difficult to figure out whether something complicated is worth the effort it is helpful to look at what private schools are doing. Service learning is an important movement in independent schools. The National Service Learning Network has compiled a wealth of resources related to service learning.
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