Community Service Learning (CSL) is a pedagogy characterized by student participation in an organized service activity that is connected to specific learning outcomes, meets identified community needs and provides structured time for student reflection.
Another important component of CSL is that all parties involved have a say in the project from start to finish, including design, implementation, reflection and follow-up. Many CSL projects have a strong emphasis on issues of social justice, as well as critical thinking and awareness about the role of these sorts of projects in an increasingly-complex world.
Community Service Learning is first and foremost a form of pedagogy; a series of techniques, philosophies and actions that combine to create an especially effective learning environment. Students who have the opportunity to be involved with CSL experience a greater depth of learning by interacting with course materials, their colleagues and their community in a fundamentally different way than in the traditional classroom setting.
There are six key criteria for best-practice CSL pedagogy
Whether a particular CSL experience or project is integrated with a credit-bearing course, or a part of a co-curricular educational program, it is important to have well-defined learning objectives, solid reflection materials, pre-service orientation sessions and targeted reading assignments.
Practitioners should also keep the following ideas in mind:
Your first step in working with CSL pedagogy at Queen’s may involve a meeting with the CSL Coordinator, Matthew Ascah, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that all materials listed below are available in the Centre For Teaching and Learning Resource Library
Eyler, Janet and Dwight E. Giles, Jr. Where's The Learning In Service-Learning?. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 1999.
Stoecker, Randy and Elizabeth A. Tryon eds. The Unheard Voices: Community Organizations and Service Learning. Temple University Press: Philadelphia, 2009.