Thursday, March 18, 2010

12 Months to a Community Service Learning Course

by Ann Abbott

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it takes for an instructor to go from thinking about offering a Spanish community service learning (CSL) course--or any CSL course for that matter--to actually doing it.

Some people get excited about teaching a CSL course, pick up the phone, cold call a potential community partner and get everything organized for the following semester. Other people get excited about teaching a CSL course, think about the work it entails and decide they will do it "someday."

What if you could tackle one piece of CSL each month, and in one year you would have successfully planned and taught your first Spanish CSL course? Would that make it seem do-able? Would it help you get over the fear of the unknown?

Here's a 12-month outline. I'll post details about each month in up-coming posts. We're in the middle of March right now, but you can shift the calendar.
  • January. Tour your community--on foot, in your car and on the bus.
  • February. Volunteer yourself.
  • March. Read some of the CSL bibliography. (I'll help you find the choice reads so you don't get bogged down.)
  • April. Advertise your CSL course to students. (You're really committed now.)
  • May. Build your community partnership.
  • June. Integrate CSL into your course curriculum--classroom activities, homework, projects.
  • July. Incorporate reflection into course activities and requirements.
  • August. Prepare and file any necessary paperwork.
  • September. Go on site visits while your students are doing their CSL work.
  • October. Pause and re-align expectations with all stakeholders.
  • November. Write the final exam.
  • December. Celebrate!

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