Sewanee: The University of the South

Courses and Service Learning

You might ask what service learning is and why we include it in every course in the education program.

Both are very good questions.

Service learning includes academic work that is completed along with practical work in the community, such that the practical work helps students learn academic theories.  An added benefit is that students not only learn theories that come alive and are made more concrete through working in the community, they also have an opportunity to serve.

In most cases, service learners are beginners or relative beginners, and for this reason they learn far more than they serve.  Still, the goal of service learning is to create some reciprocity, so there is always a service component as well.

Service learning is a proven pedagogical method with a long history.  Have a look at the National Youth Leadership Council’s website for more information click here.

For another good resource see the Corporation for National and Community Service: click here

There is a long tradition in education and in learning to teach, that beginners observe and assist experienced teachers in order to find out if they are suited to the teaching profession and to begin to develop teaching skills. We aim to help students achieve these goals through their coursework and service learning experiences.

Just as text-based academic work increases in difficulty and complexity as students advance in their studies, so, too, does service learning.  Here are a few examples: In Sewanee’s education program, students begin in the introductory course (Ed 161 Educational Psychology) by tutoring as they are studying theories of child development, learning and motivation.  The Instructional Technology course has students working with teachers on using technology to teach a variety of subjects and grade levels. As they study Environmental Education, students work with children in after school programs as they explore the natural environment.  Reading to children and selecting appropriate books for young readers helps Sewanee students learn about Children’s Literature in that course. In the 300 level education courses, students help teachers present lessons, conduct ethnographic research on local school-community relations and develop short courses for after school programs.



Sewanee: The University of the South