ERIC Number: EJ844035
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Reference Count: 8
Service Learning and Civic Participation
David, Jane L.
Educational Leadership, v66 n8 p83-84 May 2009
Typically embodied in classroom-based projects, service learning aims to link community service with the school curriculum to enhance both character development and academic skills. Service learning can also go beyond these goals to prepare students to become engaged citizens, by expanding their understanding of social problems and the role of civic action in solutions to these problems. Roughly one-quarter of all schools engage at least some of their students in service learning projects. Service learning projects cut across all subject areas and grade levels. Several studies in the last decade have addressed the role that service learning can play in increasing students' commitment to civic participation. The strongest effects have generally been found for service learning programs that have the explicit aim of developing active citizenship, in contrast with those that emphasize community service and character building. To turn service learning projects into meaningful opportunities to learn about democracy and civic participation, teachers need access both to training and to worthwhile service opportunities for their students. They need encouragement from school and district leaders to tackle real-world problems and controversial issues. Every community faces significant issues that don't have simple solutions, from conserving water to providing adequate support for the elderly, and even changing school policies. Bringing these issues into the classroom motivates students to grapple with tough challenges.
Descriptors: World Problems, Social Problems, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Citizenship, Democracy, Service Learning, Class Activities, Academic Achievement, Citizen Participation, Control Groups
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Tel: 800-933-2723; Tel: 703-578-9600; Fax: 703-575-5400; Web site: http://www.ascd.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A