Serve and Learn: Implementing and Evaluating Service-Learning in Middle and High Schools

Serve and Learn: Implementing and Evaluating Service-Learning in Middle and High Schools

Serve and Learn: Implementing and Evaluating Service-Learning in Middle and High Schools

Serve and Learn: Implementing and Evaluating Service-Learning in Middle and High Schools

Synopsis

This book suggests how teachers and community partners can use service-learning in ways that can systematically enhance student academic outcomes and their civic education and lead to their informed and fruitful civic participation as youth and adults.

Excerpt

Several years ago, we had the opportunity to teach a course in the foundations and use of service-learning for teachers in grades K-12. As we prepared for the class, we found many articles and books on aspects of servicelearning, but no one book that brought the wealth of emerging knowledge about this method together into a text for teachers—one that grounds the method in learning theory and suggests guidelines for its use in today's classrooms and communities. Our intent was to fill that void

As we worked on the book over the last several years, we began to realize that the potential of service-learning is even greater than we had at first understood. And as our understanding deepened, our single global purpose became three specific purposes. The first of these is to provide a framework grounded in theory and best professional practice that middle- and high-school teachers, their students and community partners can use to design, implement and evaluate service-learning projects that address authentic community needs. The second purpose is to demonstrate ways collaborative service-learning can enhance students' intellectual development, promote their academic achievement, strengthen their citizenship skills and accelerate the kinds of educational accountability and reform initiatives emphasized in the national educational standards movement, and the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. The third purpose is to suggest ways schools and their community partners can channel the energy for service released in the United States by the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center catastrophe into activities, projects and programs that help transform the lives of students and those they work with and contribute to the development of strong, diverse communities.

We believe that many individuals and groups will find the book useful. Among these are teachers and students who want to learn about the potential of service-learning and try it with community partners in simple exploratory ways, as well as teams of teachers, students and community partners already committed to service-learning projects. We expect the book to be useful to teacher educators who are introducing service-learning to pre-professional students and education interns and who are guiding graduate students in indepth study of service-learning. Instructional supervisors and other school administrators who wish to create a climate for service-learning in their schools and communities or to enrich service-learning initiatives already underway should also find the book helpful. Finally, we believe there is much here for community agencies interested in collaborating with the schools on servicelearning initiatives, and for school-community service-learning advisory groups and councils that seek to extend and strengthen their service-learning activities and networks.

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