Monday, November 18, 2013

In the service of what? by Kahne and Westheimer

This article raised some great points about service learning that I had never thought about before. Kahn and Westheimer claim that there are two different groups of service learning participants. One of these groups is composed of people who are forced to do service learning, like how we have a requirement to do service learning for 15 hours. The second group is composed of people who volunteer to do service learning, for charity or just for the exposure to the field they are volunteering in.

Kahn and Westheimer strongly believe that it is important to incorporate service learning into school curriculum and I completely agree. Students need exposure to what they plan on doing in life before they waste a lot of money learning about it and end up not liking it. A student could go to teach for service learning and find out that they absolutely do not want to teach high school students and switch their major to elementary education, or even realize that they do not want to teach at all.

Service learning also helps develop skills in your field that you couldn't get in a college classroom, like when I go to service learning in a first grade classroom and a student constantly drops his pencil and bounces around and I learn to work with him one on one more often to give him more attention and keep him sitting down and focused. In the beginning of the year we talked in class about different things that happen in classrooms when teaching that you just cant prepare for. I still get shocked by the things my students say even though I prepare for conversations they might try to start with me. In class experience is what gets you to where you need to be, not in a college class, in a first grade class or a second grade or a high school class, where ever your field is. It is very beneficial to the people who we are helping during our time service learning as well. Every kid I can teach a new word to or help solve an addition problem, is a step further than they would be without my help.

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