Five stages or steps for engaging students in a service-learning project have been identified by the RMC Research Corporation (2009)*. Here we look at each stage and include an example from Whittier College in Whittier, CA, which engaged in a service-learning project that involved multilingual students and addressed a community need.
Investigation: The first phase of a service-learning project involves engaging students in exploring a community need they might address as they engage in an academic learning experience. This initial phase should include a range of activities to spark students’ interest in addressing the problem and develop consensus in the ways that it will be addressed. These might include a classroom brainstorming discussion (e.g., where students engage in pairs, small groups, and/or as a whole class); engaging in research about the problem and solutions that have occurred (such as reading newspaper accounts); and collaboratively developing an observation protocol for students to see the need firsthand. These might also occur as part of a specific course of study that is designed to provide a structured, systematized program of service-learning study as well as a less formal program. Both can be highly successful. Let’s look at the nationally recognized service-learning efforts at Whittier College.Continue reading “Gift-Giving: Features of K-16 Service Learning”