Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Can Students Maximize Their Own Community Service Learning Experience?

I am very happy that this semester almost all the students in my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" course already took "Spanish in the Community" and did community-based learning.

That means that they know what the course is about and it's really what they want.

It means that I can spend my time in the classroom talking about social entrepreneurship because they already learned all about community-based learning.

And it means that they can take responsibility for their satisfaction with their CBL experience.

In class last Thursday I asked all students to write down their response to these two questions:
  1. What are you going to do differently in your CBL work this semester in order to be happier with your experience?
  2. What worked well for you that you plan to continue doing in your CBL work this semester?
For #1, one students stated that she was going to work in a different organization so that she could have a different set of learning experiences.

For #2, one student said that he enjoyed getting to know the students he tutored at Central High School on a personal level, so he wants to continue to have that type of interaction with them this semester.

As community service learning instructors/administrators, it is of course our duty to design community partnerships that engage our students. But students need to know that they have the capability in many instances to engineer the type of experience they will have in the community.

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