Service learning is an instructional philosophy and strategy that connects the issues and challenges of the world outside the classroom in local communities with the knowledge and skills students learn in school. Learn and Serve America is a national initiative in the United States that aspires to help teachers engage students in a balanced instructional and experiential learning approach that combines community service and classroom learning. The methodology of service based learning is learning by doing. Skills developed through service learning projects include leadership, public speaking, collaborative learning and problem solving on a team. Instructionally, service learning emphasizes integrated and thematic planning for instructional lessons at school, and can encourage (evolutionarily) a learning environment where students are teaching each other alongside their teachers. Most people learn better by doing, and most students love getting involved in hands-on educational experiences. In the United States, the Learn and Serve America project offers grants at the state level to help get service learning projects off the ground. Often, many community stakeholders and service organizations pitch in to assist with service learning projects. In Oklahoma, service learning projects focus in four different areas: education, the environment, health and public safety, and human needs. The most successful service learning projects get students involved in the process of identifying needs, framing the issues to be studied and worked on, as well as the formulation and implementation of an action plan to address local needs. Service learning projects encourage teachers to adopt a non-traditional instructional approach which is direly needed in many areas to engage students and help them experience relevant connections between the theoretical lessons of the classroom and the real world outside the schoolhouse.

Program Length: 51 min, 39 sec
File size: 11.8 MB

Podcast 23 June 2006(Click here to listen to this podcast)

Show notes for this podcast include:

  1. Learn and Serve Oklahoma (State Dept of Education site)
  2. Learn and Serve America In Oklahoma (Profiles from national website)
  3. National Learn and Serve America website
  4. iSafe and Service Learning

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