Planning a Service-Learning Project
There are many important factors to consider before deciding upon a service-learning project. For example:
- Do students and the community have a voice in selecting and planning the service project?
- Is there a genuine need for the service project?
- Does the local community or school community share the same enthusiasm for the project as the students do?
- How can the service be designed so that it is a meaningful service experience for students and community members?
- How will you integrate the service into the curriculum?
- For a longer list of factors to consider as you embark upon planning your service-learning project visit: Note to Teachers
Performing the Service
Once you have gone through the process of thoughtfully planning your service-learning project, it is then time to perform the service. The service should:
- Be meaningful
- Have academic integrity
- Be developmentally appropriate
- Provide student ownership
- Have adequate supervision
- Allow time for observation
- Promote problem-solving
- Encourage reflection during the service
Reflection is a structured opportunity for students to think critically about their service and how it impacted the community. Reflection gives students a platform to apply what they have learned from their service to a broader social and academic context under the guidance of educators and mentors.
Students should be active participants in the evaluation of their service: What worked well? What can be improved?
Students will get the most from their service experiences by reflecting, contemplating, problem-solving, and evaluating throughout the entire service experience. Some examples of reflection activities include discussion, writing, reading, artistic expression, class projects, and presentations.
Recognition and Closure
Celebrating and recognizing students' contributions to the service project is an essential part of service learning. Through celebration, students can enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.
Here are a few useful tools that can assist you and your students in planning and implementing a well-designed and rewarding service-learning project.
- Youth Service America's Project Plan-it
- National Service Learning Clearinghouse
- Service-Learning Cycle