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  • Goal of Linking Service into Academic Studies

Academic Service-Learning

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  • Goal of Linking Service into Academic Studies 

    One goal of integrating service into academic studies is to develop a life-long habit of civic involvement and community service. Unlike many forms of experiential learning, which focus on pre-professional training (e.g., internships; Furco, 1996; Perold, 1998), one of the defining attributes of service-learning is that, along with academic learning; it also aspires to enhance students’ civic growth (Annette, 2003; Ash et al., 2005; Battistoni, 2002). Thus, in addition to “serving to learn,” service-learning intentionally focuses on “learning to serve.” Although developing good citizens is not a new role for higher education, and there are numerous pedagogical approaches for civic learning (e.g., classroom instruction on civics, moderated discussions of current events, student governance and community activities, simulations; Levine, 2003), the emergence of service-learning has heightened attention to the nuances of the civic domain and social responsibility as a set of intentional educational objectives to be addressed seriously in higher education (Astin & Sax, 1998). Even though, as Dionne and Drogosz (2003) note, “citizenship cannot be reduced to service” (p. 25), service-learning needs to be better understood as a means for teaching toward civic learning objectives.

    Service-Learning is, therefore, an effort to promote the fact that much learning takes place when we can connect classroom instruction to real-life situations. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on linking what students are doing at their individual sites with broader community issues and involvement.