Service learning at ISKL is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates authentic service with guided inquiry and reflection to enrich learning, engage students in socially responsible global citizenship and enhance communities.
At its core service learning is about engaging students here and now in making positive change around them. Why wait until they "get to the real world" and not bring the real world to them? Why not make the recognize that we're not just talking about issues and concerns but we're trying to solve them? Why not allow students the chance to do good in a developmental manner so that when they graduate they have gone through the process often enough to have internalized it?
Service learning is a valuable tool for educators and students alike. It provides a framework of teaching that allows for the broadening of ideas and concepts through inquisitive efforts to make an authentic impact on the community.
At its core, service learning has the curriculum. Given that, at ISKL, curriculum is defined as the totality of learning experiences (both within the classroom and outside of it), this can signify actual content being covered in a class syllabus, or an "issue" at the core of a club or organization. Though the Education for Sustainable Development framework is not a mandatory element of service learning, at ISKL it is often used as a curricular starting point for service learning.
Once the focus has been identified, students are engaged in an on-going process of investigating a community need, the planning for action and the subsequent follow-through of such action. This cyclical format is indicative of the continuous nature of service learning and highlights the fact that continual growth is a beneficial byproduct of the process.
Another thing that allows service learning to reach students is the consistent use of reflection and demonstration throughout the process. It is imperative that students recognize that not all learning can be boxed up nicely as with classroom assignments, and that it is okay to recognize that sometimes things do not work out perfectly. If that is the case, however, reflection and demonstration allow for authentic learning to take place regardless of the results of a certain initiative.