June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1444.1 - 11.1444.10
What Tomorrow Brings
Motivated by the death of a classmate during the first week of school, grief gave way to service learning. The management of teams class syllabus had planned a semester’s study of team theory, observation of team influence and roles and analysis of team performance in films. The class made a decision to radically restructure the learning experience to respond to their needs to actively work for a positive outcome from a tragic event.
This article talks about how the changed class format helped students to integrate skills from a broad college experience—marketing, accounting, writing, management, leadership, graphics, public relations, facilities planning, project management and research. The learning cycle changed from observation and reflection, abstract concepts, testing in new situations and experiencing (Kolb & Fry)1 to one of creating, planning, deciding and acting (Cain, Cummings & Stanchfield)2. The professor’s typical approach to teaching was reversed. Students performed a necessary step in the project, and then the professor applied theory and assigned readings to reinforce the experience.
The unexpected outcomes of the experience included very strong support from the Dean’s Office, opportunities to recruit high school students, and community awareness of the college’s programs. Students expanded networking skills and acquired a better understanding of charitable giving. Their engagement with the community led to some new college-business and industry connections. Students demonstrated tremendous creativity in planning an event that benefited a scholarship fund in honor of their classmate.
Developing a service learning project
The experience did force this professor to change her methodology. She looks forward to the next class session because the responsibility for learning and teaching is shared. The students are eager to share their newest discoveries and ideas. It is a real pleasure to be a partner in their intellectual growth and skills development.
While the scholarship project was very special to those who participated in the described event, by no means does this imply that a service learning project has to originate from an emotional experience. Many larger communities have volunteer clearing houses that match organizational needs with volunteer interests. A survey of student skills and interests helped to identify several community project possibilities.
Students visited several of the listed agencies to investigate their needs and assess the organization’s support of service learning. Choices were narrowed to three agencies. The final decision was made based on the wildlife organization’s quick response to interviews and
Steuver, J. (2006, June), What Tomorrow Brings Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--551
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