Service Learning: Planting the Seeds of Personal Investment in Social Change

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Melodye LEHNERER, College of Southern Nevada, USA
There are many ways to address social injustice. This presentation addresses one way which is to create learning environments in which students recognize that as social actors they can influence social life. Service learning, a common pedagogical tool used to link students to their communities, creates such an environment. In addition, the service learning experience fulfills several pedagogical goals: 1) it gives students the opportunity to do sociology; 2) it meets a genuine community need; and, 3) it allows for a structured reflection on the service learning experience.

Reflection is more than thinking about the service learning experience; it is about linking the experience to the insights of sociological theory and method. Reflection aids students in recognizing their civic responsibilities to those whom they provide services. Most importantly it places students in a position to recognize, and in a small way, address social injustice at a micro level of experience. At this level of experience, the seeds of personal investment in social change are planted.