Jay's World of Abstracts

Jay's World of Abstracts 00023

Service Learning and What it Looks Like

An abstract from the Peace Corps website

[Standard disclaimer: The nature of abstracts are that they are pieces of something larger. Not everyone is going to be happy with my choice of abstracts from any larger work, so if you are dissatisfied, I would refer you to the original document, which should be able to be found on the Internet. I encourage others to make their own abstracts to satisfy their needs. I would be happy to publish them here.

Jay's Introduction

Ever since Service-Learning was identified as a viable prevention tool, Alida has been talking about it. I am glad she did because I am now thinking like she is: we could do this!

Though the school environment right now is not ideal for it (due to standardized testing and the time needed to prepare for the tests), community service agencies can get in on the act, too. I think that might be a possible route to doing this in our county.

I produced this abstract using time paid for by the Quay County Maternal Child and Community Health Council with funds from the New Mexico Department of Health.


Service-learning differs from community service or volunteerism in two distinct ways:

Adapted from (Social Education 65 (4), pp. 240-241, "Service-Learning: An Essential Component of Citizenship Education," NCSS Position Statement 2000).

Service-Learning as described by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993:


Enduring Understandings:

Essential Questions: [...]

Essential Elements of Effective Service-Learning

(National Service Learning Cooperative, National Youth Leadership Council, April 1998)

  1. Effective service-learning establishes clear educational goals that require the application of concepts, content and skills from the academic disciplines and involves students in the construction of their own knowledge.
  2. In effective service-learning, students are engaged in tasks that challenge and stretch them cognitively and developmentally.
  3. In effective service-learning, assessment is used as a way to enhance student learning as well as to document and evaluate how well students have met content and skills standards.
  4. Students are engaged in service tasks that have clear goals, meet genuine needs in the school or community and have significant consequences for themselves and others.
  5. Effective service-learning employs formative and summative evaluation in a systematic evaluation of the service effort and its outcomes.
  6. Effective service-learning seeks to maximize student voice in selecting, designing, implementing, and evaluating the service project.
  7. Effective service-learning values diversity through its participants, its practice and its outcomes.
  8. Effective service-learning promotes communication and interaction with the community and encourages partnerships and collaboration.
  9. Students are prepared for all aspects of their service work including a clear understanding of task and role, the skills and information required by the task, awareness of safety precautions, as well as knowledge about and sensitivity to the people with whom they will be working.
  10. Student reflection takes place before, during, and after service, uses multiple methods that encourage critical thinking, and is a central force in the design and fulfillment of curricular objectives.
  11. Multiple methods are designed to acknowledge, celebrate, and further validate students' service work.


Wingspread Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning

(Adapted from the Wingspread Conference Special Report, October 1989)

The principles that follow are a statement of what Wingspread believes are essential components of good practice. You are invited to use them in the context of your particular needs and purposes.

Visit (http://servicelearning.org/res/mono/wingspread.htm) to view the entire Wingspread Conference document.


Worksheet #6: Service-Learning Rubric

Note to Students: Service-Learning is a teaching method that combines academic instruction, meaningful service, and critical reflective thinking to enhance student learning and civic responsibility. Use this rubric to evaluate your progress during your service-learning project, and once you've completed it.

Strong Impact Good Impact Some Impact Minimal Impact
1. Meet actual community needs Determined by current research conducted or discovered by students with teacher assistance where appropriate Determined by past research discovered by students with teacher assistance where appropriate Determined by making a guess at what community needs may be Community needs secondary to what a project teacher wants to do; project considers only student needs
2. Are coordinated in collaboration with community Active, direct collaboration with community by the teacher and/or student Community members act as consultants in the project development Community members are informed of the project directly Community members are coincidentally informed or not knowledgeable at all
3. Are integrated into academic curriculum Service-learning as instructional strategy with content/service components integrated Service-learning as a teaching technique with content/service components concurrent Service-learning part of curriculum but sketchy connections, with emphasis on service Service-learning supplemental to curriculum, in essence just a service project or good deed
4. Facilitate active student reflection Students think, share, produce reflective products individually and as group members Students think, share, produce group reflection only Students share with no individual reflective projects Ran out of time for a true reflection; just provided a summary of events
5. Use new academic skill/knowledge in real world settings All students have direct application of new skill or knowledge in community service All students have some active application of new skill or knowledge Some students more involved than others or little community service involvement Skill knowledge used mostly in the classroom; no active community service experience
6. Help develop sense of caring for and about others Reflections show affective growth regarding self in community and the importance of service Reflections show generic growth regarding the importance of community service Reflections restricted to pros and cons of particular service project regarding the community Reflections limited to self-centered pros and cons of the service project
7. Improve quality of life for person(s) served Facilitate change or insight; help alleviate a suffering; solve a problem; meet a need or address an issue Changes enhance an already good community situation Changes mainly decorative, but new and unique benefits realized in community Changes mainly decorative, but limited community benefit, or are not new and unique
Source: This rubric is taken from the Coverdell World Wise Schools publication, Looking at Ourselves and Others (Washington, DC: Peace Corps, 1998, p.6).

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