Service learning resources include online documents and videos to prepare educators for implementing a project. Publications with training guides and research information also might provide a valuable resource to incorporate service learning into a classroom curriculum. In some communities, nonprofit community agencies offer service learning resources through workshops that explain their needs. School districts typically conduct regular training courses for teachers.
A school district incorporating service learning into regular classroom work might send staff members to intensive training sessions to prepare them to train their peers. These teachers typically bring back supplemental brochures, videos, and booklets to use as service learning resources for in-school training. Worksheets allow teachers to walk through a sample project and evaluate its effectiveness.
Service learning gives students a hands-on experience in the community to enhance coursework in the classroom. It differs from strictly volunteer work because it is aligned with the school’s regular curriculum and becomes a teaching tool. Teachers prepare students for service learning in the classroom and encourage reflection on lessons they learn.
Students working at a community food distribution center might learn about poverty and nutrition, for example. Pupils participating in a project at an animal sanctuary typically gain knowledge about the environment and endangered species. History lessons might become more relevant by helping out at the local museum.
The Internet provides many service learning resources for primary, secondary, and university educators, with hundreds of sites giving detailed instructions on how to implement a program. Supplemental instructional materials can be downloaded and shared with colleagues during in-house training sessions. These materials might include research documents outlining effective service learning projects throughout the country. Teachers might also access videos of training sessions at no charge.
Community organizations might represent another service learning resource. Some of these groups offer training tailored to their specific needs. A workshop might detail typical projects suitable for students and explain what the pupils might learn. These resources could include environmental clubs or zoos. Private businesses, such as nursing homes or hospitals, sometimes also offer service learning resources in the form of written material to assist teachers in planning programs.
Service learning typically contains several components to meet defined parameters. Teachers first identify community needs that supplement what is being taught in the classroom. The educators form a partnership with the community group or agency where students will work. They prepare students for civic work by teaching about responsibility and goals of the project.
In most areas, teachers encourage students to reflect on the project during and after its completion. They may require pupils to write a report about the experience with examples of what they learned. In some regions, students must complete a service learning project as a graduation requirement.