In the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a lot of great questions in regards to service learning. Students and teachers have concerns on how the activity of service learning is impacted by the closure of the school. They are wondering how can students still continue to do some service while they are at home? What would be some best practices for service groups for maintaining collaboration and communication with their teams, as well as generic questions on service learning such as;
What constitutes a service activity?
How can one know the impact they have on the community by doing service learning?
In this blog, I will be sharing some of these questions that I received from members of the student body at the school that I am currently studying at, as well as some of the responses that my service council provided them. Many students have IBDiploma requirements such as CAS- Creativity, Activity, Service as part of their core learning that need to be considered.
It is important that students still keep engaged with their school’s service learning program (if there’s one), or, participate in the Serve Learn Challenge, which is specifically designed to take inquirers through all the 5 stages of service learning, as well as make students think of service learning-related activities that can be done at home, while on quarantine. Many are frustrated by the fact that they can’t do either direct or indirect service, but now, it is the best time for students to work on their advocacy and research-type of service skills.
Below are some questions that I received from students at an international school, who were concerned about their progress within the service group, as well as what they can do if their visits to their partners have been cancelled due to travel bans, or, if they had events organized at school with a couple of other service partners.
What can we do if we have meetings / events organized that were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak?
- As the events will be cancelled or postponed you can still continue to further plan the event and develop your ideas for the event into something stronger or even adding more to your event.
- Students can also move their events / meetings online, and experience a new platform of sharing their findings — it is great when groups of students would like to cater to larger groups of people, who aren’t necessarily in the same location.
- Consider utilizing the extra time to better plan / research your event, such as by contacting local NGOs for resources/support and getting more information pertinent to your event.
We are unable to fundraise or do weekly visits while in quarantine. What can we do to continue helping our service group / partner?
- Students should keep in touch with the organizations / partners they support, as well as start planning activities for after the coronavirus.
- Moreover, students can work on a random act of kindness, or a public service announcement to raise awareness about the cause of the service partner / group. Advocacy plays a significant role in service learning. Informing your community about global issues, and recognizing something is an issue, is the first step in making a difference.
- It is best to keep track of the impact statement, as well as reflect on the impact of your service on the local community.
What types of activities/experiences are considered to be service learning?
- Any activity that relates to 4 types of service learning: direct, indirect, research and advocacy, as well as activities that have a clear need identified in the community, and an action plan which revolves around the identified issue.
- As well, a service learning activity can be considered anything that helps meet a community need that also helps you connect learning, develop skills and dispositions, grow and develop as a responsible global citizen. In addition, actions leading to a progressive learning process that allow opportunities for reflection and allow you to achieve the desired outcome.
- If there’s any confusion about whether your activity is Service Learning or not, please contact the SL Coordinator at your school for your division.
How can I stay connected to my service learning group?
- Service groups / councils should still meet during their allotted meeting time and discuss issues that are pertaining to their community, as well as to their respective groups.
- By reaching out to your service learning leader or teacher via email in order to be able to reach out to the whole group and then further creating either a zoom stream or another virtual platform that will allow your group to meet at least once a week to discuss further plans. This will allow service learning groups to remain active during the lockdown and closure of the school and will allow for students to get creative with their service learning.
- Student leaders should take initiative to reach out to their service groups, organize regular meetings, and stay in contact with the students in their service groups, while also updating the teacher regularly on what actions the group is taking. They can also start preparing for next year, mentoring peers and setting up goals with partners.
- It is very important to stay organized and ensure everyone is receiving up to date information pertaining to the service group. Communication in key!
- Please contact the service learning council if your group needs help in organizing and planning regular meetings, as well as remaining in contact or if your having any issues. We are here to help 🙂
If your interested in developing your Leadership and Mentorship skills in preparation for the next school year, we are excited to be offering an online summer learning institute. More information on this will be out soon from Serve Learn Educational Consultants: www.servelearn.co