Service Learning

Service-learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and self-reflection to support academic learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Service-learning is a pedagogical method that extends beyond volunteering and community service to intentionally integrate service into academic coursework and curriculum and provide mutually beneficial partnerships between learners and the community (Muscott, 2001). According to Learn and Serve America, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, service-learning builds on getting involved in the community and on principals of democracy, citizenship, and character education (Learn and Serve America, 2010).

From the early days of public education in the United States, prominent thinkers and reformists including Horace Mann (1849) and John Dewey (1916) suggested that schools should aim to go beyond academic goals and help students develop the needed critical thinking skills for solving problems, making ethical decisions, and participating in society as caring individuals and responsible citizens. Today, elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation participate in service-learning with the support of federal, state, district, and foundations’ funding.

View ReferencesReferences

Dewey, John. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Learn and Serve America (2010). What is service learning? Retrieved from

Mann, H. (1849). Twelfth annual report covering the year 1848. Boston, MA: Dutton and Wentworth, State Printers, 90.

Muscott, H. (2001). An introduction to service-learning for students with emotional and behavioral disorders: Answers to frequently asked questions. Beyond Behavior, 10(3), 8-15.

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