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Challenges and Advice in Service Learning

Page history last edited by dal.edwards86@... 13 years, 8 months ago


“The great aim and end of all learning is service.” 

                            Ben Franklin



Training Modules











    NC Social Studies Standard Course of Study 









Tick, tick, tick.  "I don't have time to teach this course", becomes the age old argument of many social studies teachers. Again, service learning should not be considered an additional element of the classroom, it should become the classroom.  Thus, finding time at the beginning of the school year to plan and implement a service learning project is a necessity and a good investment for sustainability of the project.  Service learning should be an avenue to teach the standard course of study, not an additional hindrance in "completing" the course.


Teachers find comfort in a certain amount of control in their classrooms and students often want immediate answers to questions that will surface.  A classroom with an integrated service learning component challenges traditional elements of a social studies classroom.  Learning will come in non-traditional ways and places, as students learn about their community outside of school and possibly with the use of online technology.  Teachers should be flexible in giving up some amount of control and allowing students to explore answers to civic minded questions, as well as, questions about their own learning.  When students see the content and skill connections through active and reflective means, they typically embrace the challenges of service.  Teachers, through proper planning and time invested should see students grow and learn in different ways.


  Essential Questions--Challenges and Advice


  • What are the most significant challenges in successfully initiating and sustaining a service learning experience?

  • How can teachers overcome these challenges?

     Resource Links--Challenges and Advice


  • Jumpstart and Service Learning     

    Jumpstart was originally founded at Yale University in 1993 as a non-profit organization focused on the public need for quality early childhood programs and the nation’s growing commitment for service education.  Jumpstart collaborated with scholars Patti Clayton and Myra Moses in developing a service learning resource guide located in section II of this website.  This guide offers a path for institutions of higher education to implement a service learning program into a wide range of disciplines.  The guide provides structure and advice in promoting the value of civic engagement, leadership and service to students.  Dr. Clayton and Dr. Moses currently direct the Center for Curricula Engagement at N.C. State University.

  • National Service Learning Partnership A network of over 10,000 members--students, parents, policy makers, community leaders, business people, and educational specialists-- dedicated to the use of service learning in the classroom.  The Partnership is funded through grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and State Farm Companies Foundation.  It is sponsoered by the Adacemy for Educational Development.

  • Learn and Serve America--Challenges and Advice  Learn and Serve America's National Service Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) touts itself as "America's Most Comprehenive Service Learning Resource".  NSLC supports all levels of education interested in strengthening the relationship between communities and schools through service learning strategies.  This website shares timely service learning information, as well as, discussion lists that encourage collaboration of educators and students on the issues of service education. 

  • Keene State College Service Learning Wiki   Keene State College, as a public liberal arts college of New Hampshire, adheres to the integration of "teaching, learning, scholarship and service."  This wiki site was developed as part of a service learning project using material provided by the college's Office of Service Learning.  The Wiki provides advice and a tool for online collaboaration of students, faculty and community agencies in implementing a service learning project.

  • Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Service Learning Network  The CES Service Learning Network goals include implementation of service learning across all of the core disciplines. The CES Network includes hundreds of schools that reflect "personalization, democracy and equity, and intellectual vitality and excellence".  These essential schools focus on effective practices in standards-aligned interdisciplinary studies, community-based learning and performance based assessment.   This site would be an excellent resource in the understanding of each of the NC Service Learning modules.

  • Service Learning=Solutions Blog  Learn and Serve America's National Service Learning Clearinghouse sponsors this blog for public discourse on trends, implementation, stories, advice, and student success in the use of service learning in the classroom.

  • Learning That Lasts Field Guide  The National Center for Learning and Citizenhip sponsored this 2005 resource guide.  The guide identifies policy and practice examples across five domains critical in the integration of a high quality service-learning program--vision and leadership, curriculum, professional development, partnership and community, and continuous improvement.

  • Colorado Department of Education-Service Learning Trail Guide  The Colorado Department of Education has approved a service learning trail guide for interested educators and students to follow.  Supported by Learn and Serve America, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the National Youth Leadership Council, the trail guide is divided into three major components--a section devoted to research linking service learning and high performing schools, descriptions and snapshots of service learning "in action", and a resource list for starting and implementing a service learning project.

  • Wade, ed. "Building Bridges: Connecting Classroom and Community throught Service Learning in the Social Studies", NCSS Bulletin 1997    Edited by Rahima Wade, this 1997 bulletin of the National Council for the Social Studies focuses on the connections between the community and curriculum through sevice learning. This bulletin specifically empasizes why social studies is a natural outlet for service learning considering the discipline's emphasis on civic education.  There are specific grade level examples of social studies and service learning.  This document offers a firm understanding of the rewards service education potentially offers students, the school, and the community.

  • Center for Civic Education   The Center for Civic Education is a non-profit, non-partisan education corporation that promotes "enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy".  Many programs focus on civic participation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens--major components of service learning.



     Podcasts on Challenges and Advice



  Primary Document Connection--Challenges and Advice


     The following pairs of documents demonstrate opposing points of view on the same issue.  You will probably find that starting and sustaining a service learning project will be challenging.  Use these documents to teach and learn about the concepts of challenge, conflict, cooperation, and the need to, ultimately, compromise.  After researching the proper historical context of the document and its relevance to the standard course of study, use essential questions to guide your student's understanding of the documents: What were the differences of opinon expressed within and between these documents?  Why do you think this particular issue created varying points of view?  Do the different points of view demonstrate the potential for conflict or cooperation?  Do you anticipate a compromise over their differences?  In what ways do these points of view demonstrate similar differences within your service learning project?  How can your own challenges be met?







  North Carolina Service Learning Social Network


The NC Service Learning Social Network is designed to be an online collaborative professional learning community (PLC) for integration of service learning in the social studies.  Through forum questioning, blogs, and online shared resources, the social studies section at the Department of Public Instruction hopes that social networking makes service learning a more accessible, manageable, and integral part of the North Carolina social studies classroom. 

  Professional Development--Challenges and Advice (Available Spring 2011)


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