Sunday, April 24, 2011

Service Learning Projects

Service learning projects (SLP) provide students with an opportunity to create and participate in assignments that go beyond the traditional classroom. It allows the students to feel a greater connection to their community and fosters the idea of civic responsibility. By allowing students to determine the problem and work towards the solution, they are given complete ownership over their learning and the meaning and the value of the project increase greatly.

SLPs have a proven track record. In the article “Critical Thinking in Students’ Service Learning Experiences” Sedlak, Doheney, Panthofer, and Anaya state that “Students can benefit from service learning experiences by enhancing communication skills, strengthening critical thinking abilities, developing civic responsibilities, and fostering a sense of caring for others.” Parker-Gwin and Mabry also found that service learning “move[s] students from identifying concepts, rote memorization, and summaries to higher-order processes of analysis, synthesis and critique” (1998).


Sedlak, C., Doheny, M., Panthofer, N., & Anaya, E. (2003). “Critical thinking in students’ service-learning experiences”. College Teaching, 51, 99-103.

Parker-Gwin, R., & Mabry, J.B. (1998). Service learning as pedagogy and civic education: Comparing outcomes for three models. Teaching Sociology, 26(4), 276-291.

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