What is Service Learning?
Service-learning is a structured learning experience that combines community service with explicit learning objectives, preparation, and reflection. (Composite definition from Jacoby, B. and Associates, 1996).
Philosophy for Service Learning at MIS
Service learning at MIS aims to foster, develop and motivate students to become aware of the needs of the local, and global community. Service learning helps students become responsible world citizens who meaningfully take action towards meeting the needs of the community, to reach out and in doing so become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.
We believe Service Learning is achieved through the effective implementation through the five stages of investigation, planning, action, reflection and demonstration/communication.
It is a form of experiential learning that –
- is developed, implemented, and evaluated in collaboration with the community;
- responds to community-identified concerns
- attempts to balance the service that is provided and the learning that takes place;
- enhances the curriculum by extending learning beyond the classroom and allowing students to apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations; and provides opportunities for critical reflection
Service Learning Core Values
Taking meaningful action is a goal of the learning process. Students become aware of the needs of different communities, through their curricular learning or on your own, they are encouraged to make choices about how to take thoughtful, positive action to make the world a better, more peaceful place!
Meaningful action often begins with a feeling of responsibility to the community in which we live and progresses to making and/or facilitating small changes and undertaking larger and more significant sustainable service partnerships.
Service learning is a powerful means to teach the curriculum in an applied and socially conscious manner. Curricular learning may be strengthened when taught contextually through Service.
It is an opportunity to take what they are learning in the classroom and put it into action through a commitment to service, making a positive difference to the lives of others and the environment. Students are encouraged to engage in authentic activities that create a lasting impact on a community and enhance their own experiential learning.
Meaningful service is achieved through the five standards of service learning:
- Planning and Preparation
- Demonstration and Communication.
Service Learning Goals
- To involve everyone in service learning
- To bring about authentic social change through community collaboration and development
- To enhance and improve the lives of others
- To develop sustainable collaborative/partnerships with the local community
- To provide authentic leadership opportunities
- To integrate service learning into the curriculum
- To develop resources and support systems to enable effective, sustainable, and meaningful service learning
Components of a Service-Learning Project
The five stages are as follows.
- Investigation: Students identify their interests, skills and talents to be used in considering opportunities for service learning experiences, as well as areas for personal growth and development. Students investigate what they want to do and determine the purpose for their service learning experience. In the case of service, students identify a need they want to address.
- Preparation: Students clarify roles and responsibilities, develop a plan of actions to be taken, identify specified resources and timelines, and acquire any skills as needed to engage in the service learning experience.
- Action: Students implement their idea or plan. This often requires decision-making and problem-solving. Students may work individually, with partners, or in groups.
- Reflection: Students describe what happened, express feelings, generate ideas, and raise questions. Reflection can occur at any time during service learning to further understanding, to assist with revising plans, to learn from the experience, and to make explicit connections between their growth, accomplishments, and the learning outcomes for personal awareness. Reflection may lead to new action.
- Demonstration: Students make explicit what and how they learned and what they have accomplished, for example, by sharing their service learning experience through their service learning portfolio or with others in an informal or formal manner. Through demonstration and communication, students solidify their understanding and evoke response from others.
(Adapted from Cathryn Berger Kaye’s “five stages of service learning”, 2010)
The objectives of the program are to:
Develop individuals to become: Globally minded, Caring, Responsible, Cooperative, Principled, Optimistic, Leaders
Extend learning through exploration of new and varied interests, thereby developing individuals to become: , Balanced, Risk Takers, Problem solvers, Communicators, Confident and Self-Aware
Have a positive impact on our host country and community by:
- Building relationships through collaboration and active participation in service
- Modelling positive values and behaviors
- Identifying and addressing challenges in the community
- Sustainable partnerships
- Developing environmental awareness
Empower individuals to pursue personal passions through:
- Setting and achieving goals
- Self Confidence
Service and Action Learning Outcomes
- Awareness: Become more aware of your strengths and areas for growth
- New skills: Undertake challenges that develop new skills
- Initiative: Discuss, plan and evaluate student-initiated activities
- Commitment: Persevere in action
- Collaboration: Work collaboratively with others
- Global value: Develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism, and intercultural understanding
- Ethics: Consider the ethical implications of your actions