Community service projects and required volunteerism have been a standing part of educational curriculum in the United States for many years. The implementation of service learning into educational lessons and planning, however, is revolutionizing the quality of teaching and learning students experience. By creating formal classroom assignments that include service learning components, students are exposed to the bigger picture of community development and are more likely to engage their surroundings on their own time. Likewise, service learning projects foster sustainable traits in students and outcomes in their given projects.
According to “What the Heck is Service Learning” which recently appeared in Edutopia, service learning is a valuable asset to everyone involved, the participants and the recipients. Not only do students experience educational and personal growth through service learning projects, teachers and community members likewise reap the benefits. In a given project, various stages of assessment occur to evaluate the impact and success of a project, including self-evaluation skills for students participating.
Adopting service learning as a regular facet of your curriculum integrates new means of engagement in your classroom to reach a variety of student learners. By opting to use service learning lessons and activities, educators help students to develop strong, valuable character traits – life skills to help them lead successful independent lives. These traits include trustworthiness, respect, reliability, good citizenship, and beyond. There is an opportunity for students to develop social skills in service learning: students experience team building exercises as they collaborate on projects and the implementation of ideas. Further, students explore their own creativity and use skills acquired in the classroom to solve real-world problems that impact their lives and communities.
If you are interested in teaching your students service learning, we invite you to discover Project Discovery’s Service Learning curriculum designed with 2 different reading levels (3rd-4th and 5th-6th) for every student. With this curriculum, you will help students understand what service learning is, identify service opportunities and ways to get involved. This is a great way for students to learn to belong to and add value to a group.