Core Components of Service-Learning
The essential components of service-learning as an instructionalstrategy for use with youths are:1.Youth Voice:Youths are fully involved in the identifying and planning of the learning and service activities, as well as the doing. This not only brings ownership, but it more deeply internalizes the learning process through the connection of emotions to the learning.2.Age Appropriate Service:Tasks related to the service-learning project should challenge and stretch youths cognitively and developmentally, and should also be age appropriate.3.Genuine Community Needs:Service-learning, to be meaningful, must be an activity that “addresses” a genuine community need, such that youths see the community as a better place and understand that reciprocal learning will take place.4.Learning Objectives(Curriculum Integration):The service activity not only addresses a genuine community need, but it also satisfies learner outcomes and objectives. Youths understand the “why” of the learning as well as the “what.” Learning becomes experiential and applied, rather than rote.5.Preparation & Safety:Preparing youths for their service experience includes ensuring they understand their role, the skills and information required, safety precautions, and are sensitive to the people with whom they will be working.6.Youth Assessment:Assessment strategies should enhance youth learning as well as documenting and evaluating how well youths have met academic content and skills standards.7.Program Evaluation:Evaluation of the service effort and its outcomes through formative and summative methods allows everyone involved to understand the programs impact on youths and the community.8.Reflection:Reflection is the use of critical thinking skills to cement the learning that began with the various applications of the project process. Reflection activities occur continuously before, during and after the service project and include celebration.9.Diversity:Diversity is represented through participants, practice, and outcomes in that the service values and includes all community cultures and is not “doing it to” recipients, but “with” them.10.Partnerships:Identifying community partners who will work with youths to meet the jointly identified community need and assist with the project. Community-based partnerships insure that youths are meeting a “real” need in the community and not “doing it to” the community.