ERIC Number: ED415359
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Student Perceptions of the Opportunities Available from Participating in Service Learning.
Hecht, Deborah; Fusco, Dana R.
A study examined 64 eighth-grade students' perceptions of opportunities available from participating in service learning and contrasted these with perceived learning opportunities available in school. Each student was enrolled in a 10-week required service learning course. Students visited service sites daily and had reflection periods two times per week during which they wrote in journals and discussed concerns. Sites included preschools or day care centers, senior centers, an elementary school, and a school for disabled children. Participants in service learning reported the following: the experience provided different learning opportunities than school; most strongly felt they made a contribution and had the opportunity to express important personal values; and they felt less bored, more grown up, and more important during service learning than during school. However, the finding that school improved their opportunities for the future more than service learning seemed a function of a small subset of students (n=9) who reported they learned "nothing" from participating in service learning. When these students were dropped from all analyses, this difference was no longer statistically significant. Results indicated great variability within sites. This suggested that the specific activities in which students engaged at a particular site needed to be more closely studied. Students who viewed reflection positively also reported more opportunities available from service learning. (Contains 12 references) (YLB)
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Experiential Learning, Grade 8, Junior High Schools, Learning Experience, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, School Community Programs, School Community Relationship, Service Learning, Student Attitudes, Student Participation, Student Volunteers, Work Experience
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Grant (W.T.) Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996). For related documents, see CE 075 512-513.