The Nature of Service Learning
Service learning is a component of the Career-related Programme core.
Service learning provides opportunities for students to understand their capacity to make a meaningful contribution to their community and society. Through service learning, students develop and apply academic knowledge, personal skills and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative, responsibility and accountability for their actions. The purpose is for students to contribute to society by improving the lives of people or assisting the environment or animals.
Service learning benefits all involved—students as they continue developing skills and knowledge applied to real-life situations, and the community through reciprocal collaboration. Service learning fosters development of abilities, attitudes and values in accordance with the IB mission statement and the IB learner profile. The process of service learning is best when understood and organised as an ongoing experience occurring with regularity throughout the duration of the students’ CP.
The five service learning stages offer a helpful ongoing process framework for students.
Reflection is central to building a deep and rich experience in service learning. Reflection allows students to explore ideas, skills, strengths, limitations and areas for further development, and to consider how they may apply their prior learning and background in new contexts.
The aims of service learning are for students to:
- develop and apply knowledge and skills towards meeting an authentic community need
- develop as leaders who take initiative, solve problems and work collaboratively with others
- enjoy the experiences of both learning and service
- develop a sense of caring about, and a responsibility for, others
- gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community and society through meaningful reflection
- enhance and strengthen their experience with the existing school curriculum.
A minimum of 50 hours is expected to be devoted to service learning. The school and students must give service learning as much importance as any other element of the CP and ensure sufficient time is allocated for engagement in service learning.
The five learning outcomes articulate what CP students are able to do at some point during their service learning programme. Through meaningful and purposeful service learning experiences, students develop the necessary skills, attributes and understandings to achieve the five service learning outcomes.