…such service learning activities seek to promote students' self-esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide authentic learning experiences
The service learning project we are participating in definitely does all of these, especially the latter. Working in a school environment definitely helps to prepare me for what I want to do in the future. It is getting me a preview of what it will be like to work with different types of students, and teachers as well. I'm switching from classroom to classroom throughout the day, so I am able to watch different teaching methods.
I really love the section in this piece about the students who were nervous about going to a school in a poor neighborhood. I was angry at how they automatically assumed that the children would be "rude, tough, noisy, and very unfriendly", as well as "mean, gang-related blacks". The part that I loved was where they came back from the service learning project with a whole new perspective; the stereotypes they had were dispelled. This is why I think service learning projects are important, and should be encouraged in middle and high schools. It provides students with different opportunities to work with a variety of people and to lessen, if not eliminate stereotypes and prejudices completely. It gives privileged students a chance to see what life is like for people who are not as fortunate as them.
While I read, I was reminded of this episode of The World's Strictest Parents, where rebellious teenagers are sent to "strict" households in an attempt to change their ways of life and attitudes. There was a scene in this particular episode where the boy, Andrew, was made to volunteer at a homeless shelter, serving food. He was quickly humbled and was able to appreciate the lesson he was being taught. The concept in this show is different from the idea of service learning, however I made a connection between the way he was exposed to a different way of life and developed morally, with the intention for students who participate in service learning to learn from, while helping those who are in need.