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Service-learning is a teaching method which combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. From the assignment of a project that addresses community needs, students learn from community members and develop leadership skills while practicing theoretical knowledge gained in class.
Picking up trash by a riverbank is service.
Studying water samples under a microscope is learning.
When students collect and analyze water samples for the local pollution control agency and the agency uses the findings to clean up a river – that is service-learning.
Let’s take, for example, a nonprofit wishing to sponsor a 5K Walk/run as a fundraiser. The following is an example of how an university might respond to a call from the nonprofit organization for “help” with the event.
|Type of Service||Student||Activity|
|Community Service||Any student / any degree program||Running or walking in the race with pledges for distance covered
Serving as race monitors along the course
|Internship||Business student / MBA or MPA||Market analysis/strategic plan to identify an unique, and potentially profitable, fundraiser appropriate to the organization’s mission.|
|Field Experience||Students in nursing or medicine||Staffing a medical tent - along with faculty, looking for signs of runners/walkers in need of medical attention|
|Service-Learning||Students in communication or marketing||Developing a social network site to generate interest|
|Students in graphic design||Developing a print media campaign for marketing|
An episodic volunteer program;
An add-on to an existing college curriculum;
Completing minimum service hours in order to graduate;
Service assigned as a form of punishment;
Only for high school or college students; or
One-sided, benefiting only students or only the community.
Committing to do a service-learning project at a community-based organization for a student is important and significant - both for the student and for the organization. Students gain more from service-learning that is completed over the duration of the semester with multiple visits to the organization. The organization also gains more and is more willing to invest in great learning opportunities for students making a semester-long commitment. The recommended time commitment for English composition students is 15-20 hours, with at least 8 visits, ideally 10. Service-learning to be a great way for students to apply what they are learning in their classes to a real-world situation. English composition students will be writing papers and completing multi-genre projects that grow out of their service-learning projects.
Students may select from the options below or make their own arrangements.
Jumpstart Kansas City
St James Place
Troost Elementary School (via Youth Friends)
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