What is the Difference Between Service-Learning and Community Service?
- intentionally connects service with academic course content.
- incorporates an experiential component that complements traditional teaching methods
and enables students to become active participants in their education.
- instills a sense of civic responsibility in participants through structured preparation
- is any unpaid activity that focuses on meeting the needs of a community or individual.
- Community service may be one-time or ongoing, but is not connected to a course.
Preparing for Service-Learning
Preparation should take place prior to the start of any service activity and should
equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the community.
Preparation may include an introduction to service-learning, a discussion about the
community organization and population being served and/or a research assignment about
the social issue being addressed. Preparation should also include a clear and thorough
explanation of the service activities that will be performed.
Reflecting on Service-Learning
Reflection enables students to connect what they learn from the community with what
they are taught in the classroom. Meaningful and structured reflection should take
place before, during and after the service experience. Reflection may include writing,
speaking, multimedia, or other activities. Journaling and class discussion are common
modes of reflection.
Continuing Service after Class
Students often find that they wish to continue serving the community beyond the duration
of the service-learning class. There are many resources at Towson University that
enable students to get involved in ongoing service experiences.