Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Book Full of Creative Ideas for Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

I was excited to get my copy of the new book, "Quick Hits for Service-Learning: Successful Strategies by Award-winning Teachers" (U of Indiana Press), in my mailbox yesterday.

My piece (written with Darcy Lear) is entitled "Matching student presentations to the nature of service-learning work." In it, we describe how students can do poster presentations instead of the more familiar oral presentations.  The intro states:

"Each semester, our Spanish service-learning students engage in meaningful community-based projects, yet the typical end-of-the-semester oral presentation is the opposite: boring and delivered to a passive audience. Without extensive training, most PowerPoint presentations simply recreate the pitfalls of oral presentations with students reading each slide's text.  Instead, we have found that a poster session modeled on the professional conference format allows students to present their projects in succinct yet eye-catching posters that necessitate active dialogue with their audience." (80)

The pieces included in this book are all very brief and intended as "descriptions and directions offered for your reference and study as you map out your more specific curricular plan." (M. A. Cooksey & Kimberly T. Olivares, "Editors' Introduction")

Some pieces that might be of interest to Spanish service learning practitioners include:

  • Increasing cultural competency through refugee focused service-learning projects: Bringing the world home
  • International Service-learning (ISL): Creating an intersession social work course in India.  (Although this is not about work with Spanish-speakers, short-term study abroad is becoming increasingly popular in all languages.)
  • Developing a resource manual for new immigrants
  • Learning beyond the classroom: A Spanish for the Professions course
  • Partnering with the community to bridge the language classroom to the Latino population

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