Service-learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities designed to promote student learning and development. Reflection and reciprocity are key concepts of service-learning. (Jacoby, Service-Learning in Higher Education, 1996)
What are the Benefits of Service-Learning?
Towson University has identified service-learning as a means to help students become engaged and active citizens. Service-learning is effective in both instilling civic responsibility in students and helping them comprehend and synthesize course material. Service-learning at Towson is supported by the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership. Staff assist faculty, students and community organizations in designing, implementing and evaluating service-learning projects.
Reflection Quotes from TU Students Engaged in Service-Learning
“What better way to learn than to be a part of the real world interacting with real people? This whole course has been quite the treat and having been in classrooms my whole life I feel that the experiences gained cannot be compared if this course was classroom only.”
“[Service-learning experiences] provide the student with a meaningful, engaging experience that enhances the learning process. They are a great way to give back to the community. They also are a wonderful opportunity for students to apply their learning, and gain deeper, relational understandings of content.”
“Service-learning gives you a sense of achievement, excitability and a job well done.”
How is Service-Learning Different from Other Forms of Experiential Education?
Experiential education offers students the opportunity to practice what they learn from traditional classroom teaching outside in the real word. Community service, internships and service-learning are all forms of experiential education. Service-learning is unique in that it places equal emphasis on enhancing student learning and meeting community needs. Students engaged in service-learning connect academic course content with real-world experience through ongoing reflection.