14 March 2008

Research on service learning in public schools

Service-learning in K-12 schools works for teacher because it integrates classroom instruction with service by students. That service can go across the curriculum, touching more than one subject area. Because service learning is working on issues in the community it provides opportunities for students to enhance utilize critical thinking skills. It must have clearly stated learning objectives, meet real community needs, and include time for students to reflection.

In a study done by W. K. Kellogg Foundation, participating youths explained their benefits in service learning programs in personal and social responsibility, self-efficacy, motivation to learn, improved academic skills, leadership skills, avoidance of risk behavior, interpersonal skills, and connection with heritage. Read the report

Schools can implement service-learning programs in a number of different ways. They range from school-wide service learning, which involves every student in the school, to grade-wide service-learning, which involves all students in one or more grades, to service-learning as part of an individual course.

Interesting teacher facts on service learning…
- Nationwide, 83 percent of public schools with service-learning offered some type of support to teachers interested in integrating service-learning into the curriculum
- The most common types of support provided to teachers included support for attending service-learning training or conferences outside of the school (66 percent), financial support for costs associated with service-learning projects or programs (58 percent), and mini-grants for service-learning programs or curriculum development (45 percent)

Why do public schools participate in service learning?
The top three responses were as follows:
- 53 percent of schools said that they encouraged student involvement in service-learning to help students become more active members of the community.
- The other most frequently cited reasons were increasing student knowledge and understanding of the community (51 percent)
- meeting real community needs and/ or fostering relationships between the school and surrounding community (48 percent)

Information for this blog was obtained from http://nces.ed.gov.

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