Orientation and Commitment

“Being able to go out into the community and make a difference is truly amazing. It makes you feel good as well as makes others feel good.”

— Student

What are the Benefits of a Service Learning Orientation?

  • Define the purpose of service-learning as a pedagogy.
  • Describe the specific service-learning project in relation to the class.
  • Explain criteria upon which students will be graded and other project logistics.
  • Articulate expected behavior while working in/with the community.
  • Provide a brief history of the community agency or organization and the needs of the people in the community which the organization serves.
  • Describe the benefits of service to the students, the college, and the community.
  • Describe opportunities for recognition through media and awards and ensure students sign Model Consent Release.

How Can Students Become Committed to Service Learning?

  • Show project results from students who have previously completed the project
  • Give students a voice in selecting the project or in determining certain aspects of the project. Student motivation increases when students have a sense of autonomy.
  • “Practice” community engagement, where students are assigned an activity that personifies a community need. This encourages them to consider the other side of the issue.
  • When possible allow students to select their roles in the project to take advantage of students' interests and strengths.
  • Provide service learning options. For example, allow students to choose service learning or another assignment that meets the same objectives or skills.
  • Explain to students the benefits of service learning and the skills they will gain for their future employability credentials.