Why Should I Use Service-Learning in My Classroom?
Benefits for Students
Student involved in service-learning as part of their regular curricular program gain in at least four areas: Self Esteem, Citizenship, Academic Skills, and Career Education.
Benefits for Teachers
Benefits for Schools
Service-learning brings direct benefits to schools as well. School personnel have been struggling the last few years to implement the recommendations of various school reform movements. Whatever the issues, most schools are trying to make the curriculum more relevant. They are trying to increase the academic performance of their students to compete in today's technically complex world, and at the same time they are trying to make responsible citizens of their students. Teachers who have implemented service-learning in their curriculum have found that the service-learning format allows them a ready means of using cooperative groups, thematic teaching and higher level thinking skills.
Because most service-learning activities are directed at community needs, the community becomes aware of what the schools are doing in the community. This can result in better public support for the schools as citizens realize what services are being offered and can also result in more direct parental involvement in school programs.
Benefits to the Community
Community residents served by a service-learning project benefit from direct assistance and personal empowerment that is generated through the involvement of young people. The students become invested in their community as a result of the knowledge and experience they gained in their service projects. Underfunded community agencies benefit through the enthusiasm and hard work of the participating students. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of service-learning to the community is the change of attitude that the community develops toward its young people. Young people are not thought of as potential community problems but are thought of as the community's greatest resource.
*The benefits outlined here are taken
from Growing Hope: A Sourcebook on Integrating Youth Service into
the School Curriculum.