What is Service-Learning?

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Peace Corps Fellows Program

What is Service-Learning?


Service-learning offers a unique opportunity for America's young people -- from kindergarten to university students -- to get involved with their communities in a tangible way by integrating service projects into the curriculum. As a form of experiential education, service-learning connects theory to practice by applying classroom academic learning to "real-world" social, economic, and environmental problems in the community. As a pedagogy for democracy, service-learning contributes to building and revitalizing communities at the school, neighborhood, city, or even global level, while students learn about democratic participation, leadership, and active citizenship. As a fun and stimulating teaching method, service-learning promises to strengthen academic skills and increase motivation for educational achievement.


The service-learning model involves five key project phases: