Article Review on Service Learning

Summary

The article aims to show how service learning can improve the students’ learning outcomes. It notes that service learning is currently being embraced by many institutions as it improves the student’s learning experience. It gives the students real life opportunities that give them meaningful experiences and relationships. The article specifically measured the university level Spanish leaners’ attainment of certain course outcomes. From the article it is evident that service learning boosted specific course outcomes and other additional learning outcomes.

The author of the article reviews various literature materials that indicate that this instructional strategy can improve a learner’s language learning. The article notes that service learning has positive changes in learners such as boosting confidence, motivating students, and equipping them with leadership skills. In addition, service learning provided the Spanish students with opportunities that were not found in a classroom setup.

The article employed an action research in its methodology, to investigate how the activities done in service learning supported the course specific outcomes and other learning outcomes. The author notes that action research is one of the best approaches for researchers in the education field.

The study employed the use of Spanish university students at the public liberal arts university. The participants were estimated to be in the intermediate range. The participants were divided into two groups, then sent into 20-hour and 10-hour service learning projects at two distinct sites. They were required to interact and speak with the community members using the Spanish language. Data was obtained from the students from various sources such as the oral journals, group conversation, and individual interviews with the community partners.

The result indicated that 90 percent of the students felt they had met the first standard that was being measured. They were able to understand and derive the meaning of phrases spoken using the Spanish language, regardless of the topic. In addition, 90 percent of the students agreed that they had met the second objective. They felt they were able to engage in various conversations comfortably and express their emotions. Generally, the students felt that they had improved their Spanish language, and felt that speaking with others was the best way of learning a language.

An analysis of the obtained data indicated that service learning contributed greatly to the students’ attainment of course-specific objectives. It was interesting to note that the study also identified a number of areas of learning beyond the specified course outcomes. The students developed communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. However, the study notes that service learning cannot readily generalized to other student populations. It advocates for other studies to be conducted that utilize direct measures of learning outcomes. In conclusion, service learning can provide a rich environment for learning.

 

Reactions

I totally agree with the article. I feel service learning is an important instructional method that should be embraced by every institution. It provides learners with practical skills and gives them a better learning experience. The author uses other articles and books that help him to come up with a good article. I find the article’s methodology good as it employs active research which is a good research method. Therefore, I feel the article’s arguments are justified and correct.

Moreover, I feel service learning is great since it enables students to meet the various learning goals while doing good to the community around them. In addition, it provides the students with real life situations, an aspect that improves their learning experience. The intriguing aspect of service learning is its ability to improve the students’ interpersonal development and make them have a great sense of personal efficacy. Moreover, I feel it improves social responsibility among the students.

The service learning instructional method can be implemented by the institutions by first seeking community partnerships. Community partnerships should be mutually beneficial. As the students learn through service learning, the community partners should also benefit. Moreover, schools should incorporate service learning into their curriculum. In addition, institutions should provide multiple opportunities for service learning. Students should be given a chance to choose the projects that they want to undertake. Consequently, the students should be encouraged to reflect on the service experience. They should constantly relate those experiences to the course content. On a regular basis, the instructors should determine whether the specific course outcomes are being met through service learning.

 

Application

The information in the article can be applied in the public health classroom to enable students to relate to the course content. The instructional method will enable them to experience real life situations of the thing they learn in class. For instance, the institution can take them to a malaria prone area, so that they can help the community in reducing the malaria incidences. The practical experience will enable the students to internalize the course content more as they help the community. The students should receive training prior to the service learning experience. Moreover, the lecturers should supervise the students during the service learning experience.

References

Bettencourt, M. (2015). Supporting Student Learning Outcomes Through Service Learning. Foreign Language Annals, 48(3), 473-490.

 

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