Saturday, June 16, 2007

STLHE 2007 - Conference Day Three - An Introduction To The Concept And Practice Of Community Service Learning

This presentation was given by Cheryl Rose for the University of Guelph and the Canadian Association For Community Service Learning. a small audience of only 5 people, so this presentation was more of a chat than a formal presentation.

There is a long history of service learning in Canada, the USA, UK, South Africa, and China (among others).

Eyler and Giles in their book "Where is the Learning in Service Learning", define service learning as:

"Form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students work with others through a process of applying what they are learning to community problems and at the same time reflecting upon their experience as they seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves"

Key elements from the definition:
  • Experiential education - cycles of action and reflection
  • Working with others - partnerships and collaborations
  • Community problems - assets, issues, questions
Objectives for the community/benefits to learners - intentionally reciprocal in nature

The association Web site has lots of great material. This was a good presentation in that it exposed me to the scale of service learning in Canada. Service learning is not a new concept, it has been around a long time and there is a large body of knowledge around it. This will hold me and others at NSCC in good stead as we incorporate service learning into our programmes. Some essential resources for faculty, staff, and learners.

2 comments:

Kelly Christopherson said...

Sounds like a great conference - and only 5 people - a great chance to get some good discussion going. Is there a website that one can go to to see information? We are working at building more of the community service learning into classes and all information is useful.

Ian H. MacLeod said...

It was an amazing conference and one I would recommend to all adult educators. The STLHE site is http://www.mcmaster.ca/stlhe/welcome.html, while the site for the Canadian Community Service Learning Association is http://www.communityservicelearning.ca/en/ .

Check them out, I am sure that they will be of use. Thanks for the comment!