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What is service-learning?
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
What is the Corporation for National and Community Service?
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For CNCS press inquiries, contact Ashley Etienne at (202) 606-6944.
What is the difference between service-learning and community service?
Community service participants volunteer for the primary or sole purpose of meeting the needs of others and bettering the community as a whole. Young people engaged in high quality service-learning meet the needs of their communities while increasing their academic achievement. Service-learning students also take part in structured time to investigate community needs, thoughtful planning of the service project, and guided reflection regarding the relationship between their service experience and their more traditional in-class learning. Overall, the most important feature of effective service-learning programs is that students engage equally with learning and service and reflect on their intersections.
Where does service-learning occur?
Service-learning programs are found in all subjects and grade levels, a wide range of community-based organizations, and in Indian Tribes and U. S. Territories. Each year, Learn and Serve America programs engage more than a million students – from kindergarten to higher education – in service-learning activities that support education, the environment, public safety, and other human needs. The degree to which these programs are implemented varies from a school-wide program at the k-12 level to a large consortium of community colleges like the American Association of Community Colleges Horizons Service-Learning program.
Can service-learning occur in community-based settings?
Yes. 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Camp Fire USA, Girl Scouts of the USA, YMCA, and many other large and small community organizations offer service-learning through school partnerships and after-school programs.
Is service-learning just for certain students?
No! Service-learning is for everyone. Service-learning is an effective teaching method for all students, including gifted and talented students, special education students, students with disabilities, at-risk youth, youth in inclusive classrooms, and students in alternative education.
How can I be sure that service-learning is a part of my child’s education?
Talk to teachers and administrators to find out whether service-learning is already taking place at your child’s school. If it’s not, consider presenting on service-learning to your school board or PTA.
What do we know about the impacts of service-learning?
A 2002 national study of Learn and Serve America programs suggests that effective service-learning programs improve academic grades, increase attendance in school, and develop personal and social responsibility (Melcior & Bailis, Impact of Service-Learning on Civic Attitudes and Behaviors of Middle and High School Youth: Findings from Three National Evaluations). Whether the goal is academic improvement, personal development, or both, service-learning can help students learn critical thinking, communication, teamwork, civic responsibility, mathematical reasoning, problem solving, public speaking, vocational skills, computer skills, scientific method, research skills, and analysis.
- Impacts of Service-Learning on Participating K-12 Students
- At A Glance: What We Know About the Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions, and Communities, 1993-2000: Third Edition
How widespread is service-learning in the United States?
- 24 percent of America's elementary and secondary schools have adopted service-learning programs.
- 35 states have adopted some form of service-learning policy–either a mandatory, state-wide policy or one granting districts the freedom to create their own.
- At least a quarter of all higher education institutions and more than half of all community colleges have adopted service-learning programs.
What are some examples of service-learning projects?
Get inspired by the real-world examples of service-learning in our Success Stories collection and on YouthSITE (Youth Sharing Ideas and Tools for Engagement).
What are the roots of service-learning?
The practice of service-learning dates back much further than the term itself, beginning with educational movements and social change in the late 1880s. The intellectual foundations of service-learning in the United States trace back to the early 1900s with the work of John Dewey, William James, and others who promoted models of "learning by doing," and linked service to personal and social development. The term "service-learning" was coined by two educators in 1967 to describe the combination of conscious educational growth with the accomplishment of certain tasks that meet genuine human needs.