Service learning is a pedagogical tool used by the instructor of the course to help students apply theoretical knowledge to a real-world problem with the goal of having a better understanding of the theory while solving the engaged problem at the same time. The primary goal of the service-learning course is, as with all courses, to develop a better understanding of the subject material of the course. This better understanding is achieved by taking theory taught in the course and applying it to a problem faced by the community.
Service learning is not volunteerism. The community-engagement aspect of the course is a requirement of the course in the same way that instructors require students to read textbooks or perform experiments in a lab. Instructors do not typically grade students on the actual community service performed but on the students' critical reflection on the intersection between theory and practice that takes form in writing or in presentations.
This unique educational opportunity is important because it offers schools the ability to form a symbiotic relationship with their community. Those communities with which Stetson faculty have partnered include Spring Hill, Pierson, and DeLand. Through this relationship, the community gains much needed help as students receive academic credit for critical reflection, the development of civic responsibility, and personal and intellectual growth.
Service Learning for Students
"Education without direction is a one-sided social value. Direct action without education is a meaningless expression of pure energy."
-Martin Luther King Jr.