According to Herman Melville, human being cannot live for themselves. This means that their lives are connected in numerous ways that are invisible and along these connections; their actions act as causes and then the outcomes or reactions come as results. Agreeing to Melville’s philosophy when addressing service learning means that students must have action on the community and then these causes bring results.
For instance, through serving learning, a college student can impact positively on the lives of people he/she will be serving and thus cause a positive change. In final assessment, this student is likely to benefit from the service learning by attaining contentment and hands on experience. An experienced optician can help a student optician to ma eye examinations in poor neighborhoods.
However not everyone believes that service learning is a good venture and they oppose it terming it as self serving since students and professional are used to accomplish the same tasks. Again even the activities that are not entirely helping the students to learn his/her future career can still have positive outcomes. This paper addresses the impact that service learning has on the students and the community to gauge whether it would be viable to make it a requirement for learning or not.
Students Serve the Community While Learning
College administrations have in the past made remarks that the current generations of graduates do not have civility or community worth ethics. They claim that these young adults have gotten too self absorbed and are now loosing the sight of community good. Caret Robert however does not think this is true. At Towson University, students just like many others across the country are positively engaged in the community and are making a big impact on the community (Egger para. 2a).
September usually has a week of serving the community and during that period students raise awareness of the greater god that results from serving learning.
Service learning can be described as the teaching method which involves service to the community as part of its curriculum. It offers the students practical experience in the real world regarding specific fields of study and at the same time, it meets the needs of the community being served (Egger para. 2a).
The teachers involved in such programs are qualified professionals in community-oriented practice (Egger 189b). They provide the best way for students to reflect and integrate their community experiences into their wider educational knowledge perspective.
Through these experiences, the students are above to discover how events in politics, economics and general social lives affect the community and programs running in real life.
They start thinking about creative strategies that are linked to their knowledge in theory but not bound to it alone (Egger para. 2a). They find their roles in the community and identify their responsibilities as productive members of the society. Family studies at Towson University offer an exceptional way of integrating class work and community service (Egger 189b).
Students wishing to make a positive impact on the community can engage in such services. It’s estimated that at least 30% of student have been engaging in volunteer community work while still in school. Baltimore area lone has over 100,000 students and based on this percentage, then it mean over 30,000 students are serving their communities. Therefore service learning is the best way that universities can bring real change to the community.
Service Learning: Elemental for Higher Education
What is the general purpose of the higher education, for mere career or for lifelong benefit? This is a question that many people have been seeking to address. Ernest Boyer believes that in order to bring change to American colleges, students should be trained to be responsible citizens in the long run rather that teaching the solely to build their careers (Caret para. 2).
This way, the colleges will proudly connect theory to practice and therefore meet the challenges of social problems especially for universities in urban areas. Universities cannot be left to be areas of riches, self-importance and floral splendor when there is violence and despair loom in the community (Caret para. 2).
Service learning has the potential of enriching the process of learning and rejuvenating the society and provide fresh dignity to the service to the community scholarships (Egger 191b). Emphasizing that the worth of community serves is voluntary. Universities build a culture of service (Caret para. 3). There are two salient methods that this has been happening, through curricular and extracurricular activities. Professional schools are better placed to provide several ways of experiential learning experiences.
Service Learning May Impede Learning
Egger John explains that he was taught that self – interest can by no means conflict with the love of the society. This to him mean that subjects like arts, chemistry and history are meant to promote they way individuals understand the nature of human behavior and hence build their capacity to cooperate in the community. Educated people respect the society and this arises when they realize person achievements.
In a society of individuals, everyone struggles to make his/her life better and this makes others better and social bonds strengthen as these individuals interact (Bringle and Hatcher 223). They hence develop mutual respect even for unintended persons because of the predictable outcomes. Egger argues that education promoting civility does not inn anyway deal with “good works” as Caret approves. Civility can be remedied by liberal arts lessons.
All that is required is to put emphasis on merits to an individual for respecting the society and involving others in trade. Unfortunately, Egger does not think this is being done and that is why students are disrespectful and distrustful of the human freedoms particularly the free markets. The solution for this is not to get s substitute like service learning (Bringle and Hatcher 223).
Service learning diminishes reverence for the society as it seems to imply that students owe other less privileged members of the community time and effort. Teaching that one has a responsibility to people he/she does not like, does not knew or whose misfortune one was never responsible engenders sense of antipathy and contempt but not compassion to fellow humans.
Liberal education requires that students respect fellow human but not to mean that they owe them something (Bringle and Hatcher 225). This means they respect other’s rights and freedoms while pursuing individual dreams. The purpose of higher education is training the minds of responsible members of the society and not to enhance their emotions.
Bringle, Robert and Hatcher, Julia. Implementing Service Learning In Higher Education (Excerpt), Journal of Higher Education,67.2(1996): 221-238
Caret, Robert. Local Students Serve As They Learn. Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Examiner, 2007, Print.
Egger, John. No Service to Learning: “Service-Learning” Reappraised, Academic Questions, 21. 2(2007): 183-194
Egger, John. Service ‘Learning’ Reduces Learning. Baltimore Reporter, 2007