The Benefits of Service Learning

Service learning provides the tools for drawing students out of themselves and out of their potential self-centeredness. This is critical, especially in an age when education is increasingly treated as a commodity and students as consumers. Service learning also holds added benefits for me, the instructor. My teaching should always be other-centered. But in the context of service learning, my teaching can be centered on both my official students and on those whom we serve together. By reflecting on our shared experience, we can grow as members of the same academic community and fragile society. By shifting our orientation from “what can we gain?” to “what can we give?” we have hope of elevating the discussion to matters of lasting importance, doing so with maturity and integrity.

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