What is Service Learning?Service learning is the development and application of knowledge and skills towards meeting an identified community need. In this research-based approach, students undertake service initiatives often related to topics studied in the curriculum, utilizing skills, understanding and values developed in these studies. Service learning builds upon students’ prior knowledge and background, enabling them to make links between their academic disciplines and their Service experiences.
How does this relate to my career? It is strongly recommended that the service learning activities related to the needs of the community are based on the career-related studies of the student. If, for example, students are undertaking a course on health care as part of their career-related studies, service learning activities related to hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes could be encouraged.
What are examples of Service Learning?
A group of students in collaboration with the local community produces a mural in a public place. The mural itself reflects and celebrates the community, possibly in terms of its cultural heritage, its achievements or its future. Students would need to explore other examples of murals that have been produced to enhance the community and to discourage graffiti. They would also have to research the role of public art and the relationship between neighborhood culture and art.
A group of students, with community assistance, could design and create an eco-friendly garden. As part of the activity, students would learn about ecosystems. Any fruit or vegetables grown could be used in the school canteen or donated to community organizations.
Students may find, in consultation with the local health authorities, that there is a need to raise awareness among members of the community of important health issues. The students could then study the background to specific health problems, for example, diabetes types 1 and 2, and then a public awareness campaign could be devised around different sectors of the community.
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