Deciding to Use Service Learning
To incorporate service learning effectively, you must be intentional about why and how you want to use it in your course. A good place to start is to examine your motives, hopes, and goals:
- What are some of your reasons for wanting to incorporate service activities into your teaching? Which of your reasons are most important to you? Which are least important?
- What changes would you like to see occur in your students by incorporating service learning instructional activities in your course?
- If you successfully implement Service Learning pedagogy in this course, how would it alter the course? What would you need to do to make sure the course alterations are positive? Are you willing to change the course somewhat?
- What skills, knowledge, resources, values do you have which will assist you to incorporate Service Learning pedagogy? What more do you need?
- To what extent are the objectives of service learning compatible or incompatible with the needs and values of students in your department?
- What knowledge, skill, interests should students possess to use service learning in this course? Are there categories of students who would be better off not choosing the service option?
- What, if any, controversial topics may come up as a result of students being out in the community? How do you anticipate dealing with these potentially “hot” issues?
- How do you feel about the possibility that students may be exposed to a few more risks being in the community than if they were sitting in the library writing a research paper?
Designing the Course - The Course Planning Worksheet
If you think you may want to try service learning in your course, click here for an explanation of how to get started. On this page you will find a link to an electronic copy of the Course Planning Worksheet and helpful hints on planning for a Service Learning course and completing the worksheet.
What Next? The Logistics of a Service Learning Course
If you are strongly considering integrating service learning in your course, click here for information on choosing placements for your course, altering your syllabus, and creating service learning guidelines for your students.
The Community-Classroom Connection
Sometimes faculty worry that they know much less about the community than their students do. If you feel this way, or suspect that you may when teaching your first service learning course, click here for some ways to learn more about Milwaukee and for ideas on bringing the community to the classroom, and/or vice versa.
Evaluating Learning and Helping Students Make the Connection
Some Service Learners don’t seem to naturally know how to extract from their placements the learning they need for their courses. With help, however, they grasp the idea of self-directed learning quite well. Click here for suggestions on facilitating in-class reflection and grading the service learning component fairly.
Possible Problem Situations
While we don’t expect major difficulties, sometimes situations arise with service learners that are troubling to faculty. Click here for the situations we hear most often, with some suggested responses.