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Community Service Essay

School and education is something that most everyone has an opinion on. Opinions are okay to have. Education is the method in how people gain a larger sense of knowledge with the help of curriculum, teachers, administration and peers. This is something that is very important in peoples, even though some might disagree. It does not just help students become more book smart but it does help them become more social smart, street smart and able to handle situations.

Now with all of this, service learning should be involved and it 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 (National Service Learning). The problem is that communities do not come together as a whole which needs to be fixed so students are more responsible and understanding and it all can happen by getting a service coordinator. Service learning is something that happens in schools, universities, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations.

It takes place in classrooms, groups and with entire schools. It is necessary because it improves education, public safety and the environment, but most importantly it builds character and makes students more active. For example, cleaning up after a natural disaster, as in; tornadoes, floods, forest fires and hurricanes helps with public safety and with the environment. Plus those participating should know that community members, students and educators are there to help them with concerns that might come up, for their needs and to give and encourage hopes for the community.

With all of this, service learning is there for humans to enrich their learning experiences, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen the community (National Service Learning). The Leeward Community College has these ten principles to service learning. The first one states “Academic Credit is for Learning, not for Service. Academic Credit comes from Academic Learning and Community Service is not Academic in Nature. ” So students’ grades are for the quality of learning, not the quality of service. The second one is “Do Not Compromise Academic Rigor. It says that experience based learning is less rigorous than academic learning.

The Leeward Community College also says that adding community service assignments could become extra credit but not a grade. The third principle is “Set Learning Goals for Students. ” Establishing learning goals is a standard and it is necessary and advantageous for the courses of inductive learning and synthesis of theory and practice (Leeward Community College). The fourth one is “Establish Criteria for the Selection of Community Service Placements. ” Some appropriate placements not found in schools are homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

If being institutional in health care is down your alley then an option could be to do two hour shifts at a hospital. Or if they would rather work and help out in the school and with younger children, they could help in an office and file paper. Now three guidelines that should be followed are responsibility to enable the best service learning, establishing learning goals to help with placement and to have a volunteer service office to help with the start-up cost. The fifth one says to “Provide educationally sound mechanisms to store the Community Learning.

Students would be assigned to a community agency where then they would have to prepare discussions, presentations, and journal and paper assignments. The sixth one says “Provide Support for Students to Learn How to store the Community Learning. ” Students are unprepared and others have to assist them and provide examples for them (Leeward Community College). The seventh principle says to “Minimize the Distinction between the Student’s Community Learning rose and the Classroom Learning Cole. ” It says that classroom and community are two different ways of learning.

It should not conflict with learner role expectations and if students want to do community service, they must make it for it. They also say the more community service, the better chance of potential. The eighth one says “To Re-Think the Faculty Institutional Roles. ” Students are challenged by the new and unfamiliar ways of serve learning. Plus the learning fulfillment in community service courses. The ninth one states “Be prepared for Uncertainty and Variation in Student Learning Outcomes. ” The learning stimuli and class assignments determine the outcome. For learning stimuli with all raditionally enrolled students (lectures and reading), leads to predictability. Then community service learning leads to less certainty than traditional but they are both exposed to the same. Lastly, the tenth principle says “Maximize the Community Responsibility Orientation of the Course. ” It is cultivating students sense of community and social responsibilities, and it is developing a civic responsibility commitment(Leeward Community College). Now in the state of Maryland, Carroll County Public Schools provides a camp in sixth grade at Camp Hashawha, they call it outdoor school.

While being there, they are guaranteed to receive ten hours of community service. Some projects they do are; re-vegetation for trees, shrubs and planting, grass planting, placement of erosion bars, butterfly meadows, re-vegetation along streams and ponds, construct bird houses, stream clean up, install conservation devices to reduce water flow in sinks and toilets and also they write environmental letters. Once the camp is over and these kids go back and attend New Windsor Middle School in Carroll County the service learning club there provides more abilities for the children to participate in community enhancing projects.

Even as a middle schooler these community service hours work towards their requirement for high school graduation. In their club they create care packages for oversea soldiers, they collect presents at Christmas for the children in the community, and as a whole they go caroling in the assisted living communities to bring some holiday spirit to them (Carroll County Public Schools). Now the way they track their service learning works like this, if it is course related it is put on the transcript, so if you transfer schools your hours transfer as well.

There are many schools that allow that allow certain high school courses to count for service hours. Then for your independent working they have you go talk to a coordinator to have it checked. Now lately, homeschooling and private schooling have to match what the public school does to be able to graduate. These graduation requirements passed in 1992 for the Maryland State Department of Education, and it mandates a minimum of 75 service hours before the date of graduation. The community does a fine job though at providing opportunities for the students to achieve their hours.

At the Carroll County Career and Technology Center there are approximately 30 middle and high school opportunities. Plus there is a slight incentive, if you reach the goal, you are awarded the Exemplary Service Award, but most students not only reach their amount but they usually double it. Now the Maryland State Department of Education says that these are the seven best practices for service learning. First, is to meet a recognized need in your community. Second, achieve some curricular objectives. Third, reflect throughout experiences. Fourth, develop student responsibility. Fifth, establish community partnerships. Sixth, plan ahead.

Seventh, equip students with the knowledge and skill needed (Carroll County Public Schools). Now looking at what Duke University does. In 1999 Dean’s advisory committee adopted this definition at Duke. “Service learning links classroom learning with service to communities. Service opportunities are developed through collaboration among faculty, students, and individuals and organizations in the community. Service placements are designed to meet two criteria to enhance the educational goals of a course and to serve the public good by providing a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools or other entities in the community.

Students involved in service learning, make a commitment to engage in a service project or to complete a specified number of hours of service work. Through structured activities of reflection and analysis, they are asked to integrate their service experience with other materials of the course. Service learning goes beyond extracurricular community service because it involves participants in reading, reflection, and analysis. Credit is awarded not for service alone, but for academic work integrating the service experience.

At it’s best, service learning enhances and deepens students’ understanding of an academic discipline or subject, while providing them with experience that develops leadership and life skills and engages them in critical reflection about individual, institutional, and social ethics. ” (Duke University). Now that we know how the middle school, high school and universities think of service learning, we can now hear what some teachers think about it. On average, most say that it gives good advantages for opportunities, it helps with doubts, viewpoints and criticisms, and it encourages students to become active within the school system.

Danny Weil’s says this “The objective of teachers shouldn’t be memorized; they should problematize situations and present the challenge of reality that learners confront each day. ” (Early Relevance). In 2003 a study was done by Anderson and Erickson and they say, around 59% of teacher education programs give teachers the opportunities to learn what service learning in about and to give them strategies from an instructional approach. Around 24% of the programs given to teachers, actually provide teacher candidates with the opportunities to engage in service learning.

Then 18% helped the teacher candidates develop lesson plans using service learning. About 20% of the teacher candidates provided internships with other teachers that have actually experienced with service learning. Though in 2000, when Furco and Ammon found in California that many teacher educators were not exactly sure what service learning even involved. They often thought it had to do with student teaching. (National Service Learning). In my interviews, I interviewed, Jean Taylor. She works at Mount Vernon Nazarene College now but has worked at many high schools as well.

While interviewing her, I asked her the following… “Do you feel community service should be part of the school day? ” Her response was, “if the normal (reading, math, science, etc. ) is being done, then the rest (community service) should happen. I also asked her… “Have you ever been with a school that does community service? ” She replied with, “It was an option in the school district in the 1980’s and 90’s, but it was nothing mandatory. ” The last two questions I asked her were, “Do you feel it should be a punishment rather than a requirement? ” and “Does community service make students more responsible.

Her response to the first question was… “Yes, that would be interesting. But finding someone to watch over it would be challenging. ” And her second reply was… “I think that it makes students more aware which could turn into responsibility. But it is also about ownership. ” (Jean Taylor). Now to what the public has to say about service learning in schools. First, I asked 19 Males and 31 Females, and 30 of them fell in the 11-20 age category, 2 in the 21-30 age category, 5 in the 31-40 age category, 6 in the 41-50 age category, 5 in the 51-60 age category and 2 in the 60 plus age category.

The first question asked was… “Do you feel community service should be part of graduation requirements for students? ” it came out as 24 said yes and 26 said no. The next question was… “If yes, how many hours per year? ” Out of the 24 that said yes, 19 said between 25 and 50 hours, 3 said between 50 and 100 hours, then 2 said between 100 and 150 hours. Next, “Do you think community service would make students more responsible? ” was asked, the results were, 42 said yes and 8 said no.

The last two questions were, “While looking for a school for you or your child, would it change your mind if that school had community service requirements? ” and “Do you think that people with lower GPA’s should have to do more community service? ” With the first question, the results showed that 16 said yes and 34 said no and then for the last question, the survey said 10 said yes and 40 said no. These results show us how the community thinks the school should be run, now the only way a community could get that to pass would be if the community all came together and went to the school board about it.

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