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Community Service Learning

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Melissa McNown

on 17 July 2013

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Transcript of Community Service Learning

Service Learning

Assessing service-learning and community-university partnerships
Research in the service of co-learning
Critical Community Service Learning
CSL augments practical learning with theoretical learning in community placements
Increases "moral development", "citizenship", and a sense of "social responsibility" (p. 36)

CSL’s are criticized for being based too heavily around voluntary and charitable organizations
Does not investigate the cause of social injustices
Ignores important issues such as power imbalances and oppression of race, gender, wealth which support the social injustices

Critical CSL

amalgamates critical theories and the development of critical pedagogy
Increases the level of social perspective and encourages
development of
social justice
Learning through Social Movements in CSL programs developed with critical pedagogy design
Development of students' critical consciousness
Improves students' critical judgment and level of social advocacy
Theory in class works in parallel with placement
Intentionally uses placements where structures of power and oppression are present
Names the power structure in order to tackle it and to end the oppression
Increases students' awareness & commitment to social justice
"A well-designed service-learning activity involves and benefits all participants and requires a shared responsibility for planning and outcomes" (p. 52)
Service-learning has multiple and diverse objectives. It is complex and multi-dimensional. It requires effective designing and implementation of assessment.
Two major impacts on assessment strategies:
Limited time and resources of organizations requires investment to be able to measure the impact of effectiveness of serving the institution's mission.
Assessment needs to focus on all players, not just students but faculty, community partners, and the institution (p. 53)
“Learning through community engagement offers a space for interaction with a multiplicity of publics, and, in doing so; it provides a pathway between the community, students, classroom and university” (p. 371)
"[I felt] lost in a big organization"
"A monkey probably could have done my job"
“Many of the students outcomes such as increased participation in community service, connecting ideas and theories to everyday life, and making social change, represent common goals for educators interested in community issues, sustainability, conceptual understanding of social scientific concepts, and the development of students as citizens” (p. 354).
65 UBC students participated in RSL
40 hours over the 26 week course
tied to Sociology 100
students' experiences were documented and analyzed

86% of students would perform community service again
35% said the experience was an "eye-opener"
23% said greater effort needed to be put forward to connect course content
76% said they had made a difference
"to change the world I learned we have to be willing to [perform] community service"
One institution's overview of
Community Service Learning (CSL)
Exploring pros and cons
Designing a CSL activity
In groups, organize a CSL activity that a student could do. The following questions will help you in planning the CSL activity.

What responsibilities would the CSL volunteer have?
What does each stakeholder gain from the CSL activity?
What are the limitations or concerns for each stakeholder?
How would the activity be assessed?
Comprehensive Assessment Model
(assessment framework)

Goal - What do we want to know?
Variable - What will we look for?
Indicator - What will be measured?
Method - How will it be measured?
A strong assessment model
attention to complex dynamics
collaborative and inclusive
systematic feedback
requires effort from the beginning to reach goals
Recall...Comprehensive Assessment Model from Holland
Goal - What do we want to know?
Variable - What will be looked for?
Indicator - What will be measured?
Method - How will it be measured?
CSL activities can have value in that they encourage students to interact in the local community and encourage students to think about other communities.

Reflection is a critical component of CSL - this is what creates a space for learning.

The development and assessment of CSL activities must involve all stakeholders.

CSL is not a trend or fad that communities and institutions should jump into - requires planning (assessment, outcomes, continued relationship between.
Is community service learning, which often helps participants learn intangible or "soft" skills threatened by the increasing emphasis placed on technical or "hard" skills?
Is community service learning teaching, service, or research?
Does community service learning give participants an accurate perspective of each other's communities?
Learning institutions
Community organizations
"Given that community service-learning is a form of community engagement, how does classroom based research increase students' understanding of political participation, public involvement, and public spaces?" (p. 351).

Research in the service of co-learning (RSL) - "This idea encompasses community engagement wherein a student serves as a vital bridge between higher education and the community by conducting research as a service" (p. 354)
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