What is Service Learning? It is difficult to define concepts as intangible (sometimes) as "service" and "learning". Together the two somewhat vague concepts provide even more of a challenge. Add to that all the characteristics of classroom learning that come to mind and whew! What a task. My best and most simple definition of service learning would be "on-hands interaction within the community over a period of time that affords a student the opportunity to examine issues of citizenship, values, purpose and meaning as it relates to their personal lives and the community while rewarding the student with some form of classroom or academic credit". Also, students who participate in service learning help fulfill the learning objectives that DSC has for its students. Students working in the community in culturally diverse settings where they are able to communicate and negotiate meaning in Spanish, observe cultural practices and sharpen their listening, reading, speaking and writing skills in the target language are at an awesome advantage when it comes to retaining Spanish. As many of my students are education, social work, and business majors, and recently health care majors, the opportunity to participate in a service learning project while earning classroom credit becomes even more appealing as a means of gaining invaluable experience not only in the Spanish language in some instances, but experience in serving as student bridges to the community at large.
Students completing Spanish 1001 will be able to determine forms of communication appropriate to particular audiences and purposes; organize and communicate knowlege and ideas in a logical and purposeful way; and recognize and uses accepted patterns of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure in speech and writing.
Students completing Spanish 1001 will increase their knowledge of Spanish vocabulary and demonstrate basic oral proficiency.
Students completing Spanish 1001 will demonstrate an elementary level of Spanish writing proficiency.
Students will recognize individual and cultural differences and perspectives.
Students completing Spanish 1002 will demonstrate knowledge of idiomatic expressions and other socio-cultural phrases used in everyday conversation
Students completing 1002 will exhibit necessary expertise necessary to research, organize, and present an oral report or speech.
Students completing Spanish 1100 will develop Spanish conversational skills.
Students completing Spanish 1100 will demonstrate knowledge of idiomatic expressions and other socio-cultural phrases used in everyday conversation.
Students completing Spanish 1100 will expand and enhance vocabulary.
Intermediate Spanish 2001
Students completing Spanish 2001 will develop oral proficiency on an intermediate level.
Students completing Spanish 2001 will recognize the differences between the preterit and imperfect verb tenses.
Students completing Spanish 2001 will develop a method to study the categories of subjunctive use.
Expanding our View to Include the Big Picture. Students are, essentially, when they choose to participate in service learning, saying that they embrace the opportunity to learn while, indeed, performing a service outside of the normal physical boundaries of the traditional college classroom. The excellent news about the whole concept of service learning is that it makes sense! In the realm of academia, oftentimes the "Almighty A" is what most people use as the single judge of how well a student learned the material and did in a class. Even then, most faculty know that just because a student earns an "A" doesn't mean that they really got out of the class what you wanted them to get out of the class. As a matter of fact, students who come into the class saying that they need an "A" or have to have an "A" have already missed the entire point of not just the class in question, but higher education in general. I like to think that higher education not only means that the assignments and work given by the instructor are more challenging and at a higher level academically, but that our level of thinking, how we view our global society, the people in our community and how we interact in a diverse and multicultural society are also reflected in our level of thinking. These are, in essence, our EXPERIENCES. This is what service learning is about. EXPERIENCE! It's as though, from higher up, from this higher level, we can see the Big Picture! Isn't that really what "higher" education is about? Seeing the Big Picture. Academia, while integral in and of itself, is only a part of the Big Picture, folks! So, in recognizing this, I hope that any faculty who just happens to be reading this information will seriously consider participating in service learning or incorporating it into your own classrooms. It definitely can't hurt to encourage students to become actively involved in their communities.
Benefits of participating in Service Learning for Students
excellent information to include in your resume
meaningful way to earn classroom credit
great volunteer/service experience
increase Spanish speaking skills
socio-cultural exposure to the Hispanic community
opportunity for introspection
increase your knowledge of community/business/political needs & concerns locally
networking opportunities that are invaluable as you begin career after college
Benefits of participating in Service Learning for Faculty
adds a new dimension to your curriculum
assist college in meeting several of its institutional strategic goals, including #2, Changing the public perception of the College and #15, Collaborate with community partners to plan and promote programs.
adds meaning, purpose and value to what you are trying to impart to your students
helps you assist students in learning real world interactive skills they can't learn inside a physical classroom
increases the faculty's contact and network base in the community
faculty viewed as approachable and as real people instead of an untouchable academic elite
an excellent way to integrate hands on, practical activities into an old or traditional curriculum
Benefits of Service Learning to the College
bridges are formed with community organizations and demonstrates an atmosphere of caring and time/energy investment on the part of the college
meets core commitment #3 mission of the college "public service though continuing education, economic development, and cultural activities that address the needs and improve the quality of life of the region.
college is being discussed in a positive way through word of mouth, community and organizational contacts
may open doors for financial donations once people see our students as hard workers with an interest in the community
In Bautista's Spanish 1001/1002/1100/2001
SERVICE LEARNING AS AN EXAM SUBSTITUTE: Service Learning is an excellent way for students to become involved in our community in a positive way while earning classroom credit at the same time. Our Dalton and surrounding communities are rich in multicultural programs, venues, and language learning opportunities for the serious student of Spanish. Examples of approved service learning projects that students have earned credit for include: serving as a facilitator and translating at local Hispanic Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, being a Big Brothers & Big Sisters Buddy to a Hispanic child in a local elementary school, acting as a Big Sister in the community to a Hispanic child, and volunteering for United Way Hispanic community Health & Wellness activities. There are many, many more agencies and organizations that would be pleased to have students volunteer their time and energy in the local community. Students who participate in an APPROVED* service learning project for the semester may earn up to 75 raw points and substitute these points for their lowest exam score (Each semester exam is worth 75 points). Students may choose to opt out of an exam altogether. Students participating in an approved service learning project may not earn any other extra credit points outside of class.
Students desiring to participate in an approved service learning project must have everything in place to begin by the end of the third week of the term.. This allows for ten - twelve weeks of participation. In order to earn the 75 points students MUST have their contact person complete a service learning form. . Forms not turned in by the last day of class will not be considered for service learning. Be sure that you are in contact and have a good rapport with your service learning project coordinator. It is your responsibility to ensure that the form is in to me by the deadline.
*An Approved Service Learning Project must meet the following requirements:
Þ Must be a project for which you are not already volunteering, unless it is a continuation of an approved Spanish course Service Learning Project from another term
Þ Student must not receive pay or other monetary compensation for the project
Þ Should be a project where the student interacts in some way, directly or indirectly with the Hispanic community in language, culture or business.
Þ Must be a project where the student can earn a minimum of 15 service learning hours over the course of the semester.
Must not answer or be accountable to a spouse, parent or other immediate family member.
May be done through a religious organization. However, must be a non- proselytizing activity affecting the general community
Þ Must be a project that can be documented by an agency, company, or other third party with a CONTACT PERSON listed and verified by the instructor.