An Education Department studies how to implement the principles of service-learning

February 25, 2015

Interns from Loyola College with the administration and staff at Lansdowne Middle School engaged in a year long commitment to design and implement projects that would meet the Seven Best Practices Model of Service-Learning. Instructional workshops were presented throughout the year to train and assist teams of teachers and interns in how to view service-learning as an instructional method. This led to a better understanding of the guiding principles which enhanced the quality of the projects. Five teams of 6-8 teachers with interns mixed among the teams worked with students in grades 6-8. Each team gathered information from the students who live in the surrounding areas. This information led to a discussion and decision of what community needs could be addressed. The projects included environmental works in the community, family help and safety, understanding differences, (there is a large population of ESOL students in the school), to a walk-a-thon to raise money for the community. What we learned from the year long study was the need to continue professional development in this area, to align courses within Elementary and Secondary Education Programs to include the principles of service-learning and that finally, service-learning is a valuable way of connecting learning communities together. It is a labor intensive methodology, but the gains in student understanding, staff development and community involvement far outweigh the time it takes to design a quality project.

Loyola College - MD, Maryland
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