What is Service Learning

overview

What is Public Service or Volunteerism?

Public service is volunteer community service that encourages cross cultural awareness and promotes civic responsibility. Primary focus is given to the service being provided as well as the benefits the service activities have on the recipients. Students learn about how service can impact the lives of others in their community. 

What is Service-Learning?

Service-Learning connects academic learning and community service through reflection and critical analysis. It is a teaching and learning method that integrates theory with relevant community service. Through assignments and class discussions, students reflect on their service in order to increase their understanding of course content, gain a broader appreciation of a discipline, and enhance their sense of civic responsibility.  

We believe that Evergreen Valley College students are future leaders of our community and therefore deserve a real-world education that inspires social responsibility. Service-Learning Assignments are designed to enhance the learning objectives of each class, meet actual community needs, and promote civic engagement. 

Through service and guided reflection, students learn about themselves and their relationship to the community around them. Service-Learning allows students to engage with real-world problems, and to work with community organizations to become "part of the solution." Service-Learning programs are different from other methods of experiential education as the outcome gives equal focus on both the service being provided and the learning that is occurring.

What to Expect in Service-Learning…

  • Participation in course relevant service which benefits the community
  • Single day events to several hours a week per semester
  • Reflection = writing, reading, speaking, listening, group discussions
  • Academic credit for demonstrating learning achieved through the service (not just for putting in hours!)

Definitions of Service-Learning 

“Service-learning is a philosophy that young people are a community's greatest resource and asset, and that it is the responsibility of each community to help young people become citizens of our democracy that are knowledgeable contributors to their community.”
(Colorado Department of Education)

“Service-Learning is a teaching and learning approach that integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.”
(National Commission on Service-Learning)​​

“Service-Learning is a particular form of experiential education, one that emphasizes for students the accomplishment of tasks which meet human needs in combination with conscious educational growth.”
 (Tim Stanton, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford)

“Service-Learning experiences involve cooperative rather than competitive processes, thus promoting skills associated with teamwork and interdependency; they address complex problems in complex settings rather than simplified problems in isolation; they offer opportunities to engage in problem solving by requiring students to gain knowledge in specific contexts rather than drawing upon generalized or abstract knowledge; and they promote deeper learning because results are immediate and are not contrived (no “right answers” in the back of the book).
(Eyler and Giles, 1999)

“Service-Learning is both a program type and a philosophy of education which reflects the belief that education must be linked to social responsibility and that the most effective learning is active and connected to experience in some meaningful way.”
(Research Agenda for Combining Service and Learning in the 1990s)

“Service-Learning is a teaching pedagogy whereby students gain a better understanding of academic content by applying their skills and knowledge to benefit society.”
(Andrew Furco, University of California, Berkeley)

“Service-Learning participation during the first college year is significantly and positively related to retention…volunteerism and service-learning appear to enhance involvement and facilitate integration (both social and academic) during the first year of college, and these, research shows…are critical to student retention.”
(Dudley B. Woodard, NASPA Journal)

​CONTACT INFO​:

Center for Service-Learning & Public Service

3095 Yerba Buena Road, Roble RD-216
San Jose, CA 95135
O: 408.223.6770
E: evcservicelearning@evc.edu
Monday-Thursday: 9am-1pm

STAFF:

Marjorie Clark, Service-Learning Coordinator
E: Marjorie.Clark@evc.edu​​​

EVC Supporting Page
Evergreen Valley College
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