It is a teaching method or an innovative instructional strategy that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum based learning. Meaningful service in this case may imply various things, yet the service should be strategic enough to meet the felt need of the community and unmet global issues through critical action, questioning, civic outcomes, reflection and sustainable change goals. It is an extension of the teaching and learning activities and processes beyond the four walls of the classroom in such a way that students apply the skills and knowledge gained in a specific topic in a subject area to solving an identified problem of the community through service engagement and by collaborating with relevant stakeholders (public officials, NGOs, community members,etc) outside the school.
Service Learning, when implemented with high quality, yields statistically significant impact on students’ academic achievement, civic engagement, acquisition of leadership skills, and personal/social development. Through Service Learning Students’ concept understanding, test scores cognitive development are advanced and supported.
The fact that service Learning fosters diversity with the students, partnering organizations, service recipients and issues being addressed offers an opportunity for teachers to celebrate students’ diverse backgrounds and identities while promoting sensitivity to and relationships with other communities.
Service learning enables the teacher to hone into many skills which the students’ bring into the classroom. Such skills include creativity. logic, technical ability, or public speaking. It is important that teachers promote all these diverse skills so that everyone will have successful role within the service leaning project.
When students are enabled to link learning with high-impact service work and civic engagement, they are prompted to think critically and problem solve through structured and analytical reflection. Engaging with any community need or socio-political issue can ignite in youth not only empathy but passion for to strategically solve global problems and create systemic change.
Service learning is a student-centered activity which allows the students to choose the topics they want to address, the communities they want to serve, and the ways in which these issues will directly relate to their learning subject. Enabling voice and leadership of the students can enhance a teacher’s relationship with his or he students and empower the students to see their role in service work as both individual and collectively transformative.
So far, this innovative, instructional teaching strategy has ignited in students to come up with different ideas on how topics being taught in the classrooms can be extended beyond the four walls of the classroom to serve and solve the identified problems in the communities.