Center for Service-Learning & Civic Engagement
What is service-learning?
According to the National Commission on Service-Learning, service-learning:
- Links academic content and standards
- Involves students in helping to determine and meet real, defined community needs
- Is reciprocal in nature, benefiting both the community and the service providers by combining a service experience with a learning experience
- Can be used in any subject area so long as it is appropriate to learning goal
- Works at all ages, even among young children
Service-learning is not:
- An episodic volunteer program
- An add-on to an existing school or college curriculum
- Logging a set number of community service hours in order to graduate
- Compensatory service assigned as a form of punishment by the courts or by school administrators
- Only for high school or college students
- One sided - benefiting only students or only the community
The distinctive element of service-learning is that it enhances the community through the service provided. Additionally, it also has powerful learning consequences for the students or others participating in providing a service. Service-learning is growing so rapidly because of its demonstrated benefits for communities, schools, students and faculty.