Education of the mind without education of the heart is no education at all.
Edina Public Schools has a long history of community service. We are proud of this history and are excited to include service-learning as a teaching strategy that engages young people in addressing community issues, problems or needs as a part of their academic studies or as part of another kind of intentional learning activity.
Service-learning is a way to solve a community problem – it is not a project. Service-learning takes place both within and outside of the classroom and is not quantified by a designated number of hours. We talk about experiences, not projects.
Service-learning connects student spark to learning. An essential component of high quality service-learning is reflection - - it’s what brings the learning to life for a student.
Service-learning is a teaching strategy that readily incorporates 21st Century Skills - - critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation - - into the service-learning cycle. It is a methodology that prepares students for the global world that they will enter when leaving the Edina Public Schools.
Service-learning is a methodology that includes all. While community service often involves individual students, service-learning lends itself toward full class group action, is inclusive and includes multiple intelligences.
This teaching methodology offers important character development opportunities for students which support our character code of ICCCAR - Integrity, Courage, Commitment, Compassion, Appreciation of Diversity and Responsibility. Good learning does not avoid emotions – it embraces them. When emotions are engaged, the memories are more likely to be recalled and accuracy increases.
Students who participate in service-learning:
- Display increases in measures of personal and social responsibility
- Make an easier transition to adulthood
- Are more accepting of cultural diversity
- Experience increased trust in peers and adults
- Are more likely to act responsibly and feel comfortable helping others
Service-learning can help students improve academically. One study found a general improvement in students’ grade point averages. Students who participated in service learning also scored higher on state tests.
I encourage you as community members, teachers or parents to view yourselves as partners and to look for ways to connect ongoing and established community service projects with what our children are studying. Our district-wide service-learning program continues to grow.
If you would like more information or would like to become involved, please contact me.
Julie Rogers Bascom
Service Learning Coordinator