UT Tyler

Service Learning

An overview of service learning for UT Tyler students

Service Learning is...

a teaching methodology that combines conventional academic instruction with participation in direct, meaningful community service. In Service Learning programs students engage in classroom activities and discussions and perform local community service related to their academic coursework. The concept is designed to develop critical and reflective thinking skills and to promote a sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community.

Service Learning is...

similar to internships, field work and experiential education Programs, but seeks to go beyond the scope of these through the integration of classroom discussion and other reflection techniques. Effective Service Learning programs have been developed for K-12, high school and college students throughout the United States.

Service Learning is...

more than volunteering to work for non-profit organizations or participating in community service projects or activities. It is conducted as part of education programs which combine traditional in-class study with outside the classroom community service. Students’ participation is objectively evaluated based on previously determined educational goals. The learning process is further reinforced by various reflection activities, usually discussion and journaling, in which the students are required to analyze and evaluate their experiences.

Service Learning is...

also different from “Experiential Education” programs and internships. Experiential Education programs are essentially career building exercises in which students develop practical skills and garner valuable experiences to facilitate future employment opportunities. Partnerships are often between local businesses or organizations rather than non-profit or community service agencies. The emphasis in Experiential Education is on skill development; in Service Learning the emphasis is on social consciousness and awareness development, frequently termed “citizenship.”

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