Date of this Version
Service learning is the collaboration between academia, the community, the student, and a discipline. Such collaboration is a powerful introduction to the complexities of problems and the impact of those problems on the community. Students return to the classroom after completion of service learning for critical discussion of social issues, contemplation about policy, collaborative planning of alternative solutions, awareness of cultural impact, and perceptiveness about the complexities of service efforts and accomplishments. A distinction between service learning and academic learning is the concrete interaction with the community. The goals of the curriculum need to mesh with the mission of the community agency, the processes used to meet objectives, and the potential role that service learning may play in the educational and career interests of the students.
The service-learning Issue Reaction addressed concerns about the importance of service learning and the need to comprehend its integration into the curriculum. While participants were quick to address the academic side of service learning, the service aspect posed a challenge to creativity.
Participants were seeking paths to initiate the service component into classes. Social justice and service to marginalized populations or populations experiencing personal challenges provided a framework. The adaptation of the classes was one aspect for consideration as the preparation of the students for community interaction was introduced. Students may need to be prepared for the experience or research the planned activities before they move into the community. Agency sites may need to collaborate on what the preparation should consist of and how best to introduce the particular service and the population receiving the services.