"I don't believe that what we do in education should only be within the classroom," said Beth Ann Turner, a Lecturer in the Music Department. "Students are living now. Don't make what they learn [only] based on finding future wages."
Faculty members from various departments on campus, including Kinesiology, Chicano and Latino Studies, and Communications, came together at the annual Tips and Trends workshop to learn more about the practice of service-learning. In addition, the workshop also discussed ways of how to integrate the current trends of service-learning in the disciplines, planning, community relationship building and reflective analysis activities into a syllabus.
Emily Acosta Lewis, an assistant professor of Communication & Media Studies, asked, "How do you avoid the possibility of the service backfiring and help them disperse any misconceptions?". The answer is reflection. Faculty need to helps students to reflect in order to more deeply understand how their lives relate to the service and the course.
As a student, I am intrigued by the service-learning pedagogy. The hardest classes I have taken in college were not necessary difficult because of the course load, they were difficult because I could not relate the material to my own life. I did not feel a connection to what I was learning so I had no motivation to do the work, and therefore it became much harder for me to stay committed to the class. Service-learning ensures that there is meaningful work being done outside of the classroom, which is not the same as "just" homework, and it forces the subject matter for the course to be relevant to the local community. That is the kind of education that I want.
[Related: A Bit of Tips & Trends]
The standard "lecture then homework/memorization then test" way of teaching not only fails to engage me, but it is not what I signed up for when I decided to pursue higher education! I want life changing classes that open my eyes to the different perspectives around me, give me experiences that challenge me, allow me to reflect on my learning, and that push me to not only address the issues that I see in the world but to also implement the solutions. One day I hope to be a professor of higher education and it is clear to me that service-learning is the teaching style that I will use.
Overall this year's Tips and Trends workshop went great, and we hope to see even more new faces next year! See here for all the great pictures taken this year.
"This workshop was extremely helpful to me. I got a whole bunch of new tools that I am going to incorporate into the service-learning aspect of my class. Particularly for reflection but also just defining what it is that I am doing, and how to work with outside organizations. So just a wealth of knowledge!" - Louise Vance, a Professor from the Communications Department.
You can also check out last year's Tips & Trends workshop.