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Service learning is different from the more traditional community service in several important ways. Although similar in the goal to provide service, service learning requires academic connections, student identification of community needs, student leadership and planning, and reflection and celebration. Students become more engaged in their academic learning because they are focused on real life problems. Then by reflecting on their service, they internalize how their efforts have helped.
"Service learning is powerful because it creates life lessons that are relevant to students as they grow into adulthood," said Barbara Luther, CEP's Director of Professional Development. "When students can identify a need, brainstorm to find a solution, and then complete hands-on projects, they feel empowered to make the world a better place."
Service learning is outstanding pedagogy, too. Students are much more engaged in their learning when they set and work together towards a goal, and then reflect on how they made a difference that positively impacted the community.
According to a report published last year by the Journal of Experiential Learning, students participating in service learning programs demonstrated "significant gains in five outcome areas: attitudes toward self, attitudes toward school and learning, civic engagement, social skills, and academic performance."
Phi Delta Kappa has reported:
Middle and high school students who participated in service-learning tutoring programs increased their grade-point averages and test scores in reading/language arts and in math and were less likely to drop out of schools.
Students who engaged in service-learning came to class on time more often, completed more classroom tasks, and took the initiative to ask questions more often.
Students who participated in high-quality service-learning showed greater gains in measures of school engagement and in mathematics achievement than control groups.
Schools that sponsor service-learning programs reported that attendance increased each year over a three-year period.
"We hope these resources will inspire teachers across The United States and give them the tools they need," said Mark Hyatt, CEP president and CEO.
Visitors to CEP's website will also find insightful resources about other key topics in schools, including bullying prevention, school climate, and academic integrity. Recent posts to CEP's blog have also offered strategies for effective service learning. Improvements to CEP's website have been funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
About Character Education PartnershipThe Character Education Partnership, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to helping schools develop people of good character for a just and compassionate society. CEP is the nation's leading advocate for quality character education initiatives. To learn more about CEP and the National and State Schools of Character, visit www.character.org . To learn more about CEP's new service learning opportunities, visit: http://www.character.org/
About John Templeton FoundationThe John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. We support research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. We encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights. Our vision is derived from the late Sir John Templeton's optimism about the possibility of acquiring "new spiritual information"
CONTACT: Rebecca Sipos, +1-202-
Related links:Newly designed service learning resourceCEP's resources for key topicsCEP's blogCEP's website
SOURCE Character Education Partnership
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