by Ann Abbott
Next week I´ll give a workshop on Service Learning. My goal will be to help people from many disciplines envision how service learning can work for their courses and within our local community.
Research shows that service learning helps students better understand "messy problems"--the kinds of complex, interconnected issues that challenge our communities and that lie at the heart of our disciplines. In this workshop we will start with the basics of service learning to understand what it is, why the AACU lists it as a "high-impact educational practice," and what it looks like in a variety of disciplines. Then we will turn to our local community. As we identify strengths and challenges within our cities and nearby areas, we will sketch out specific ways we can connect our courses and disciplines to community-identified needs. Service learning students are often eager, yet nervous to step outside the campus to learn and serve â€“ so are many professors. After this workshop you will have a concrete idea for a service learning course or project and know the steps for its design and implementation.
- Explaining how my courses are structured.
- Giving examples from multiple disciplines.
- Exploring strengths and challenges of our local community.
- Connecting academic goals to those community-identified needs.
- Detailing how to create partnerships.
- Showing how to weave the community and the classroom together through classroom transitions, activities, homework and assessments.
- Wrapping it all up with a one-month calendar that takes you from beginning to end. (This is something I created years ago and just ran into it the other day. It was like finding a $20 bill in your pocket--a gift.)