Network members explore how service-learning engages students
Two members of NID’s Teacher Network – Lisa Hantman and Amy Gottesman – presented findings from their research in the impact of service-learning at an August meeting of the annual Urban Service-Learning Conference, in Philadelphia. Supported by Need in Deed, the two Network members have been exploring how service-learning engages the students in their classrooms--particularly those who are marginalized by traditional classroom practices.
Through their research, they are finding that the project-based, student-driven components inherent to service-learning are key strategies for reaching the students often on the periphery of educational focus.
The questions that emerged for Amy and Lisa last year were surprisingly similar. Amy noticed that the special education students in her 5th grade inclusion classroom became animated and involved in class activities related to their service-learning project. She kept a journal to determine which aspects of service-learning seemed to be responsible for these phenomena.
Lisa, who teaches 3rd grade in a school that serves many recent Asian immigrants, noticed that her struggling English language learners became more enthusiastic class participants when service-learning activities were underway. These observations formed the basis of their research.
The teachers see this inquiry as a multi-year study to document and analyze the impact of service-learning on a different set of students each year.