Frequently Asked Questions
What is Service Learning?
A course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students:
- participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and
- reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.
Robert G. Bringle and Julie A. Hatcher, A service-learning curriculum for faculty.
Michigan Journal of Community Service. (2) (1995): 112
What are the essential elements of a Service-Learning Course?
Key elements of a service-learning course include the following five components:
- Reciprocity: The service and learning must be worthwhile and valuable for both the student and the community. There must be reciprocity between the server and those served.
- Reflection: Intentional, systematic reflection of the experience must take place in order to accomplish meaningful learning in community service experiences.
- Diversity: A priority is placed on involving a broad cross-section of students working in diverse settings with diverse populations in the community.
- Developmental: Service-learning occurs in different stages: serving to enabling to empowering; beginning to experienced to leadership.
- Meaningful: Service tasks need to be worthwhile and challenging in order to strengthen students' critical thinking.