What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning combines community service with academic course content and emphasizes critical reflection. Service learning is mutually beneficial, simultaneously enhancing the community through the service provided and functioning as a powerful learning tool with meaningful consequences for students. Students grow to view the community as an expanded classroom in which they apply knowledge in a real-world context, understand the complex nature of social problems, and examine their roles as citizens.
Benefits to Students
Service-learning has been show to have a positive effect on students in the following ways:
- ability to apply what they have learned in the classroom to the "real world"
- academic performance, retention, and rates of degree completion
- demonstrated complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking, and cognitive development
- personal development including personal identity, moral development, interpersonal development & the ability to work well with others
- civic development including understanding of community needs and assets and inclination to be civically engaged in the future
- reducing stereotypes and facilitating multicultural understanding
Sources: Astin & Sax, 1998; Eyler, Giles, & Braxton, 1997; Vogelgesang & Astin, 2000; Eyler, Root, & Giles, 1998; Roose et al, 1997