learning is an educational opportunity that allows students to actively
participate in the democratic process of their community while also
learning the curriculum of the course. This is a unique activity,
where community service helps the student understand the course
material in deeper and more complete ways. As Furco states, the
goals are to "equally benefit the provider and the recipient of
the service as well as to ensure equal focus on both the service
being provided and the learning that is occurring (1994, p. 396).
several ways, service learning embodies the theme and philosophy
of Shepherd University 's Teacher As Reflective Problem Solver model.
We embrace a constructivist perspective of learning which posits
that learners must be actively involved in developing their understanding
of new experiences, concepts, ideas, and information. This activity
can be physical and/or mental, but the mental activity is essential.
Service learning provides opportunities for the learners to move
between the theory and concepts in the curriculum of the course
and the reality of how these ideas actualize in particular institutions
(schools) through participation with a particular community. These
communities might be classrooms, schools, after school programs,
Job Corps, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, etc.
philosophy specifically states that we want students to develop
knowledge, dispositions, and skills which will help them "to make
informed choices, to actively participate in the shaping of one's
own life and the shaping of the social, cultural, political, and
economic structures of a democratic society." Service learning provides
a model for participation in these structures and through reflection,
helps students to determine how their participation might have helped
themselves as well as others.
EDUC 200, Foundations of American Education, students participate
in Service Learning that is facilitated by the Office of Student
Community Services and Service Learning (http://www.shepherd.edu/scsweb/).Service learning is particularly
suited to this course, as students examine why education in the
United States has taken the forms that it has, who the dominating
educational ideas most benefit and who they disadvantage, and how
existing educational experiences develop and extend the practice
of democracy and social justice.
Service learning adds a new
dimension to the learning that takes place in the college classroom.
Teaching for social justice "aims to inspire levels of academic
performance far greater than those motivated or measured by grades
and test scores" (Bigelow et al, 1994, p. 5). Service learning provides
the necessary scaffold for higher quality education.em
B. Christensen, L., Karp, S., Miner, B., & Peterson, B. (1994)
(Eds.). Creating classrooms for equity and social justice. In
Rethinking our classrooms: Teaching for equity and justice (pp.
4-5). Milwaukee : Rethinking Schools.
A. (1994). A conceptual framework for the institutionalization of
youth service programs in primary and secondary education. Journal
of Adolescence, 17 (4), pp. 395-410.