Magazine article Techniques

Celebrating Service and Learning

Magazine article Techniques

Celebrating Service and Learning

Article excerpt

This month's Techniques magazine celebrates service -Ie arning and the contributions that it makes to students' learning by fostering civic engagement while students learn in a hands-on re al- world context. For close to half a century, service -Ie arning has spread throughout schools in the United States as students engage in activities as diverse as the schools the students attend. From road safety to helping feed those in need to organizing a blood drive, students have embraced the opportunities to be agents of change in their communities, while at the same time learning invaluable lessons that are linked to the curriculum.

Centennial High in Franklin

What are your students passionate about? The answer is whatever they care deeply about. At Centennial High in Franklin, Tennessee, students are passionate about safety. The busy street in front of Centennial was the site of a serious student injury on the first day of school this year. And so when W/LBAResearch High School of Business teacher Robbie Reed told students in her "Leadership" course that they would complete a service -Ie arning project that semester to meet a community need, the students immediately chose to make the school crossing safer.

They backed up their passion with research that revealed a history of accidents at the site. From this, they set a goal to convince the mayor and city officials to install a traffic light and rework crossing zones. The semester involved research into traffic patterns, data crunching, a partnership with students in the "Marketing Research and Analysis" course, and preparation to deliver a professional presentation. The result? The mayor called it one of the best fact-grounded presentations he's seen; he sent the traffic engineer to work with the school to turn the students' recommendations into reality.

"Leadership" is the first course in MB AResearch and Curriculum Center's High School of Business program. The curriculum guides students through the steps of a service -learning project as they learn valuable leadership skills. But it's the connection to the recipients that can have life -altering impact on students. At Renaissance High in Detroit, Michigan, a class decided to serve its community through collecting and distributing toiletries to a battered women's shelter. While the students were proud of the amount of soap, toothbrushes and shampoo they donated, it was their visit with the recipients that resonated.

Following the visit, their teacher, Lanell Lasenby, shared the emotional day. "I have a 'cutter' in my class," said Lasenby, "you know, someone who cuts herself with sharp objects. At the shelter, the cutter and the rest of the class got to talk to some of the women who were staying there. They heard about some really terrible experiences. More importantly, they heard these women talk about how they got themselves out of bad places (and away from bad people). They heard about the women's plans and determination to make a better life for themselves and their children. Afterward, the students talked a lot about the people they had met. And, the cutter realized that her life wasn't so bad and that she could overcome some of her issues too. It was a very powerful experience."

Eunice Career and Technical Education Center

The culinary arts class at the Eunice Career and Technical Education Center, located in Eunice, Louisiana, recently participated in a service -learning project. The class, under the direction of their instructor Martha Guempel, organized a school blood drive on January 13. All the students and staffai the school attended a presentation by United Blood Services, where they learned of the need for blood in the community and the qualifications to donate. …

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