Service-learning is an educational approach that balances formal instruction and direction with the opportunity to serve in the community in order to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience. Service-Learning must properly connect the traditional classroom experience with the real life lessons that come through service. Proper S-L approaches will provide a series of exercises to allow students to reflect on their service experiences in order to grow in character, in problem- solving skills, and in an understanding of civic responsibility. Many colleges and universities now embrace the concept of Service-Learning as a legitimate and beneficial means to engage students in their learning experience. Although Service-Learning approaches may differ greatly from place to place, it should allow participants the opportunity to effectively learn through the practical experience of serving the community in one way or another.
Service-learning offers students immediate opportunities to apply classroom learning to support or enhance the work of local agencies that often exist to effect positive change in the community. The National Youth Leadership Council defines service learning as “a philosophy, pedagogy, and model for community development that is used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.
“Service-learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for reflection designed to achieve desired learning outcomes.