The paper “ Academic Service Learning” is a good variant of the literature review on education. Academic service-learning is promoted as an effective program for preparing new teachers to work with people from diverse groups. It is basically a teaching and learning strategy meant to enhance the understanding of the formal classroom teaching through community service that is of importance to the subject material as well as meaningful to the society. Academic service-learning basically makes theoretical course work meaningful through practice as a way of having quality education, as argued by the critical social theorists (Butin, 2005 p.
57-71). In view of this, therefore, this paper intends to examine how service-learning prepares teachers to work with people from diverse backgrounds. In addition, it will highlight the specific skills and knowledge acquired through service learning and describes how the skills and knowledge can be used to improve the educational outcomes of children from diverse backgrounds. Academic service-learning alongside other forms of experiential activities such as practicum and field trips are very important to the students. Experiential activities such as field trips, practicum, and internship are primarily meant to develop the vocational training of learners and enhancement of skills for a particular profession as Butin (2005) highlighted.
On the other hand, academic service is meant to focus on both the development of the student and the community agency. For instance, groups of students who go out to clean the river banks benefit the community through creating awareness in environmental degradation and its effects as well as enhancing the understanding of the environmental theories and ideas developed in the course work thus making them meaningful. As argued by Carrington & Saggers (2008), Service-learning has additional civic learning aspects that offer students the knowledge, skills, and values needed to be a well rounded civic responsible citizen. Service-learning can be carried out throughout the various levels of learning including secondary schools, post-secondary institutions, and technical training institutions and can involve a group of students or even the whole school.
Students become active participants in solving real-life problems in society thus developing creativity as well as gaining more skills such as observation, criticality, and analyzation that assists in creating a healthy community later on in their careers.
Consequently, each community member benefits from the service of the learners as well as getting more knowledge on the issues at hand. Cooskey et al (2010) advise that the learning activities must have goals and objectives which lead to learning as expected and further emphasize that the program must be well monitored in order to realize the set goals. Learning is manifested in the analysis reports developed by the students at the tail end of the service-learning. According to Butin (2005), service-learning prepares teachers to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
Consequent to service-learning, the teacher is exposed to different diversity of community participants who hold varying opinions, ideas, values, attitudes, and even religious affiliations. As diverse as the community participants so are the students that the teacher will be teaching later on in their career. Lieberman et al (2011) further highlight that pre-service teachers learn to accommodate each and everyone in the group respectfully taking into account their opinions, ideas, and personality. This will enhance the teaching and learning among students who the Preservice teachers will be exposed to later on regardless of their diverse differences.
Butin, D. (2005). Service-Learning in Higher Education: Critical Issues and Directions. Palgrave Macmillan: New York.
Butin, D. (2010). Service-Learning in Theory and Practice: The Future of Community Engagement in Higher Education. Palgrave: New York
Cooksey, A. & Olivares, T. (2010). Quick Hits for Service-Learning: Successful Strategies by Award-Winning Teachers. Indiana University Press: Rogues
Darry, K. & Clement, N. (2011). Values Pedagogy and Student Achievement: Contemporary Research Evidence. Springer: New York.
Gay, G. (2010). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York: Teachers College Press
Lieberman, A. & Miller, L., (2011). Teacher Leadership. John Wiley & Sons: New York City.
Saggers, B. & Carrington, S. (2008). Outcomes of a service‐learning program for pre‐service teachers: links to Butin's conceptual model. Teaching Education, Vol 19 (1), p. 57-71.
Swennen, A & Van der Klink, M. (2008).Becoming a Teacher Educator: Theory and Practice for Teacher Educators. Springer