On April 7, 4:30-6:00 pm in Soc Psych 127, Professor Annie Abbott, from the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will discuss community service learning.
Whether you are in the midst of building a community partnership or sending students to a well-established setting, our goal in community service learning (CSL) is to help students understand the complexities of the community--and their roles in it--in multiple ways. Students' participation and observations in the community are an important starting point, but the classroom is rarely framed as a "CSL site," although it certainly can be. Therefore, in this talk I will offer concrete examples of engaging classroom activities and coursework that complement common CSL reflection activities. Each activity deepens students' understanding of a different stakeholder in the CSL experience. The first example concentrates on the community partner and organizational decision-making through mission-based management. The second activity focuses on the student and his/her capacity for being an advocate during and after the CSL experience. The final example engages students with community members as participants in online information sharing. Have you felt that one semester just isn't enough for students to reap all the benefits of CSL? It is not. But by dedicating class time to active learning exercises in which students explore facets of the CSL stakeholders they probably do not see during their time in the community, we can make that one semester count for even more.