What is community engaged learning?
Community engaged learning (also referred to as service learning) is a way to bring active learning out of the classroom and into the world while also meeting learning outcomes for one’s class and benefitting the community in a unique way. This pedagogy lends itself to many different disciplines. Students work on projects in the community which relate to the course objectives. The assignments are specifically based on community needs in communication with a community partner. Students generally have an experience they could not have had in the traditional classroom. At the end of the project, students are asked to reflect on their experience.
In Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning? authors Janet Eyler and Dwight Giles, Jr, describe service-learning as “a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students work with others through a process of applying what they are learning to community problems, and at the same time, reflecting upon their experience as they seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding for themselves.”
How does community engaged learning help students?
Various studies have found that community engaged learning helps students:
- Obtain skills prized by employers
- Develop habits of social responsibility and civic participation
- Persist in college and complete their degree
- Apply critical thinking and analytic reasoning
- Become sensitive to issues of cultural diversity
(National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement)
The Center for Civic Engagement supports the mission of Middlesex Community College as a force for positive social change. By expanding opportunities for community-based learning and the exchange of ideas on critical social justice issues, the Center strengthens mutually beneficial relationships between faculty, staff, students and partners in our local, national and global communities. Guided by democratic principles, the Center for Civic Engagement encourages everyone to be active citizens and to work together for the common good.
Associate Professor, English
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