Attitude Building Through Service Learning

Service Learning

Service-Learning is a training strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Based on Service-Learning, our unique youth development programs offer participants a chance to grow into a superior leader while simultaneously addressing the concerns, needs, and hopes of communities. Through Service-Learning, future leaders are encouraged to develop, refine and apply newly learnt skills to solve real-life problems of the community. The service they perform makes them actively contributing citizens and community members.

Why Service Learning?

The Service-Learning experiences, while almost endlessly diverse, have some common characteristics (taken mostly from Eyler & Giles, Where's the Learning in Service-Learning?, 1999):

• They are positive, meaningful and real to the participants.

• They involve cooperative rather than competitive experiences and thus promote skills associated with teamwork and community involvement and citizenship.

• They address complex problems in complex settings rather than simplified problems in isolation.

• They offer opportunities to engage in problem-solving by requiring participants to gain knowledge of the specific context of their service-learning activity and community challenges, rather than only to draw upon generalized or abstract knowledge such as might come from a textbook. As a result, service-learning offers powerful opportunities to acquire the habits of critical thinking; i.e. the ability to identify the most important questions or issues within a real-world situation. They promote deeper learning because the results are immediate and uncontrived. There are no "right answers" in the back of the book.

• As a consequence of this immediacy of experience, service-learning is more likely to be personally meaningful to participants and to generate emotional consequences, to challenge values as well as ideas, and hence to support social, emotional and cognitive learning and development.

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