Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Service Learning: Practical Education for Our Changing Society

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Service Learning: Practical Education for Our Changing Society

Article excerpt

There are profound changes taking place in society in population, economics, and political involvement that influence the role of higher education. Service learning is a meaningful and practical approach to meet these changing needs. It is described by the American Association of Community Colleges: "Service learning combines community service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility" (p. 6).

One major change is the great increase in immigration. In the New York City public school system, 48% of all students are from immigrant households. Many come here with less than a 9th-grade education to pursue the economic opportunities that are available in the U.S. However, "our economic system is going through dramatic changes and manufacturing jobs are moving to overseas locations" (p. 6). The jobs remaining are jobs that require higher skill levels; jobs that are based on an information society.

Therefore, when considering the future roles for these at-risk students, it is important to consider the necessary job skills. These are skills that will be required in the future workplace, both nationally and globally. Service learning will help to prepare students for these changing societal needs by giving them a chance to become connected to their communities. …

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