Service-learning is an educational approach that relies on the following three pillars: theory; theory-based practice; and, stimulating processes of reflection for in-depth understanding, through activities. This approach is a form of experiential learning, closely linked to community, and to the positive impact, on the learner and the community.
Service-Learning: Step by Step
This educational approach operates as a facilitating factor of civic engagement skills development. The first stage occurs in the classroom, where students learn the theoretical context, where investigating and preparation processes occur. Subsequently, learners apply the theories in the community context, through voluntary work.
In this phase, students can interact with many community members, from different walks of life. In this framework, volunteers can amplify group, interpersonal and organizational skills. Furthermore, the next step of the learning process, contains activities for students to delve into the knowledge acquired, in the classroom, and through practice. Finally, the learning process is being completed with the acts of demonstration and evaluation.
The Types of This Approach
This educational approach has three types:
- The direct service is the type that involves face-to-face activity, for the student with the community members.
- By indirect service, we refer to the implementation of the approach in a wider spectrum. This type corresponds to the community’s demands as well; however, it does not necessarily involve action on individual level.
- Finally, there is advocacy, where learners take the role of activists and participate in activities that involve raising of awareness, on community issues.
The implementation of this educational approach has positive impact, on the students:
- They broaden their knowledge on subjects that correspond to the community.
- Learners can put into practice the classroom theories, and acquire real-life experiences, regarding the local community. In addition, their experiences impel them on becoming engaged citizens.
- This learning experience encourages and cultivates a culture of volunteering in the frame of the community.
- In addition, students can sharpen their critical thinking and decision-making skills, among others.
iED acknowledges the significance and the effectiveness of service-learning, both for students and communities. Our institute participates actively in many European projects, that incorporate this type of learning. If you would like to contribute with your ideas on this subject, do not hesitate to contact our team.