What Is Service Learning?

Length: 760 words

What is Service Learning? Service learning is a method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service, frequently youth service, throughout the community. As a teaching methodology, it falls under the philosophy of experiential education. More specifically, it integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.

Service learning is also a method under which students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community; is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, institution of higher education, or community service program, and with the community; and helps foster civic responsibility; and that is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled; and provides structured time for the students or participants to reflect on the service experience. That is the proper definition of service learning but to me, service learning is much more. Service learning is a great experience that can help to further and benefit me in life.

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At first I thought, this class would be an easy ‘A’ but now that I have been taking part in community service activities I’ve grown to really enjoy volunteering to help others. I feel as if service learning could really change a person and to help them see different aspects of life by helping out other for the common good.

My community service site is at Earl K. Long hospital where I volunteer in labor & delivery. I chose a hospital because my major is nursing and I felt that by volunteering in a hospital, it would be a great experience so that I could get a feel of what I may later on be doing in the future. On my first day visiting the hospital, my supervisor asked me if there was a specific place that I would like to volunteer in the hospital and since I love babies and before I changed my major, I have always wanted to be a pediatrician, it was easy for me to decide. My job is to help out when needed by running short errands and answering phone calls. I really enjoy the things that I do there.

I have met plenty of great and interesting people. There were a few things that I had to do in order to work at the hospital. I had to first, get a copy of my shot record from the health unit. Second, I had to take two TB shots. Before anyone can work or volunteer in a hospital, they have to have all types of test and paper work done to make sure that they are healthy enough to work around patients. TB shots contain a small dose of medicine to test to see if you are positive for tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (abbreviated as TB for tubercle bacillus or Tuberculosis) is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria, mainly Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs (as pulmonary TB) but can also affect the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the genitourinary system, the gastrointestinal system, bones, joints, and even the skin. Other mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium africanum, Mycobacterium canetti, and Mycobacterium microti also cause tuberculosis, but these species are less common. The third thing that I had to do was to show proof that I was immune to chicken pox. There were several methods to show proof and they were to either have blood work done, take a series of shots, or to get a written letter from my doctor stating that I have had chicken pox.

Of course, I went along with the simplest method which was to get the letter from my doctor. After I went through all of the process to working in a hospital, I finally began to do my volunteer work. So far, my service learning experience has been fun, exciting, and very interesting. I have learned so many things that I plan on applying later on in my nursing career. It has been one of the best experiences in my life. I am happy that I signed up for this service learning class as early as I did and didn’t wait around. I plan on adding a service learning class to my school schedule every semester until I have successfully completed my total of 60 hours to graduate.

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