What works in service-learning?

What works in service-learningA new white paper from Projects That Work at Catholic University seeks to identify “what works” in service-learning projects in middle and high schools across the country by examining what happens, how well it happens, and what factors inhibit or optimize it happening.

In Wave 1 of the research, researchers made several observations about effective service-learning projects:

  • Projects were more feasible when an adult from a community partner was involved with the project.  Students who worked with community partners also felt that they learned more and made a bigger difference in their communities.
  • Projects went more smoothly when teachers provided specific information for students about project implementation.
  • Projects that were closely aligned to academic standards led to greater student learning but were more difficult to implement
  • Students felt they learned more from projects that involved reflection activities like related readings, class discussions, and opportunities to demonstrate the project’s impact

What recommendations would you add from your own experience?  Let us know in the comments.

The entire Wave 1 white paper is available from Projects that Work.  You can read an interview with Dr. Edward Metz, lead researcher for Projects that Work, and find about about how to get involved in the study, in this article from Youth Service America.  

Featured Service Story: William Peace University Hosts Day of Service

Chris Baker, AmeriCorps/Vista Volunteer Coordinator at William Peace University in Raleigh, NC, contributed our service-learning story this week:

We recently had a very successful day of service here at William Peace University.  Over 123 students, staff, and alumni worked on 4 different projects. We also packaged meals for Stop Hunger Now, which have just recently been sent to Nicaragua.

In planning the event, one of the most critical lessons I learned was to communicate, communicate, communicate, and when you think you’ve communicated enough, communicate more. We sent out emails to participants daily leading up to the event reminding them of the basic information, and where they would be serving.  On the day of the event, if there was a question about where someone was, or what time something start, we could always have the person revert back to their emails.

Overall, our day of service impacted Raleigh directly in a very limited way. Our students only served so many meals at Oak City Outreach Center, or sorted a fraction of the clothes at North Raleigh Ministry’s Thrift Shop. We took 26 no sew blankets to Project Linus, but that only scratches the surface of what they need. However,  these actions were helpful though in two major ways. The first is that it opened the door between William Peace University, and our partner organizations.  Establishing relationship with organizations leads to great work with them, and even other organizations by association.  Secondly, it opened our students to service work as a whole.  Many of our students are familiar with service work, or maybe have participated in days of service before. Still, they experienced something unique that particular day at that particular site. Perhaps a spark was lit and smolders into a fire within that person to make service their life’s work?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more information about this event, contact Chris at clbaker@peace.edu.

Do you have a service-learning story you’d like to share?  Send it our way: ncservicelearningcoalition@gmail.com.

Pictures and video are property of William Peace University.

Beyond NC: Serving and Learning in Uganda

In the remote village of Kisoro in Uganda, NC Service-Learning Coalition members reach out to support education and literacy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NCSLC Board member Thomas Ray and his daughter, Chloe, visited the village of Kisoro.  Kisoro lies on the western border of Uganda and Rwanda, where refugees from Rwanda and local villagers struggle to overcome the effects of war and poverty.

Chloe is spending a whole year teaching local children and serving the community.  The father-and-daughter team also brought two Kindle libraries, each containing more than 1300 e-books, including books in local languages.

The e-books are specifically reviewed and selected with local children in mind as part of a service project, 1KL (www.1KL.org), founded by another board member of our own, Sam Park.

Sam founded the project to send more than 32,925 e-books to 10 countries as well as numerous schools and communities in the U.S., so children can read and learn.

New Blog Series: Service-Learning & Community Engagement

Are you looking for resources to help you integrate service-learning with high quality teaching and learning experiences?  The Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University recently launched a new blog series about Service-Learning and Community Engagement.  Topics in the series include:

Check out these great resources from the Center for Engaged Learning, and let us know in the comments what other service-learning resources you would recommend to colleagues.  Have a story related to one of the practices highlighted in the blog?  We would love to hear it!  Email us at ncservicelearningcoalition@gmail.com

Design for Change: Coming to an Afterschool Corps Near You

Design for Change – A Champion of learning through play from LEGO Foundation on Vimeo.

Did you attend an NC Service-Learning Coalition Workshop in October?  If so, you are familiar with the Design for Change concept.  Design for Change is a project-based, service-learning curriculum that empowers young people to solve local programs through design-thinking and action. Design Thinking is a process of creating new and innovative ideas to solve a problem. Design for Change takes young people through 4 stages:

  • Feel – Young people observe and list the issues in their community that bother them.
  • Imagine – They interact with folks in their community to identify points of intervention and solutions.
  • Do – They develop and implement an action plan, keeping in mind resources, budget and time.
  • Share – They share their story of change and inspire others to get involved or do their own project.

The NC Afterschool Corps will strengthen afterschool programming in select communities by building the capacity of afterschool and expanded learning programs that serve low-income children, while developing these programs’ connection to local colleges and universities. Corps members will provide services that increase the number and training of volunteers serving with afterschool programs, increase funding and in-kind resources to these programs, and expand local awareness of the value of afterschool. Corps members will also enhance civic and community engagement by implementing Design for Change afterschool programming. Afterschool volunteers and especially Design for Change advisors will be recruited from local college and university students.

NC Campus Compact is partnering with AmeriCorps VISTA for this program, and they are accepting site applications now.  Campuses, school districts, and community-based non-profits can apply. The proposal deadline is March 10, but if organizations are interested and need more time, they should contact Chad Fogleman at cfogleman2@elon.edu.

More information is available here: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/org/nccc/VISTA/VISTA-hostCampus.xhtml