by Rachel Nelson
Today, many colleges offer service learning courses in many subjects. Service learning is a teaching-and-learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
“Service Learning made me more independent because I was the one thinking of what to do,” said Barah Kamal, who took a service-learning English 102 class at MCC.
Service learning courses can offer many different outcomes for students, most of them being positive. Many students experience enhanced problem solving skills, ability to work in teams and planning abilities, according to servicelearning.org. Many students also experience enhanced civic engagement attitudes, skills and behaviors.
“It helped me understand how to incorporate my ideas in real life and within the community. It helped me understand how easy it is to make a difference and how small actions really do go a long way,” said Hanan Alabdalla, who also took a service-learning English 102 class at MCC.
According to a Service Learning Assessment from the fall 2011 semester, students who engaged in service-learning courses gained a better understanding of community needs and problems than students who did not participate in service learning.
“Service learning forces the student to be engaged in the material so they have more of an opportunity to learn. Research in service learning over the last four years has shown that students have much higher retention rates and are more likely to stay in college and tend to do better in classes,” said Longview English instructor Casey Reid, .who regularly teaches service-learning courses.