ECSL’s 2017-2018 professional development content was introduced at our fall workshop and focused on how the principles of service learning intersect with other student-led inquiry approaches (such as Challenge-Based Learning, Design Thinking, Project-Based Learning, etc). These frameworks are not mutually exclusive- they all support student-driven initiatives with outcomes that serve a purpose!
Participants were given the opportunity to hear two service learning stories with teacher and student presenters from Turning Point and Oakwood School. These stories helped attendees see the process of service learning in action and helped them glimpse ways they can expand and enrich their own plans for social action this year. Following the presentations, students and the supporting teachers engaged in discussion with participants. It was an opportunity for attendees to reflect upon their own programs and establish takeaways applicable to their plans for the school year ahead.
Participants were also encouraged to compare and contrast their existing curriculum frameworks (adopted in their classrooms or schools) with the Five Stages of Service Learning. Seeing the similarities in these philosophies offers teachers new ways of approaching student-led inquiry. ECSL welcomes you to use the framework comparison document shared at the meeting in order to explore ways popular curriculum frameworks intersect with service learning!
In this exercise, teachers examine other frameworks of student inquiry alongside the service learning process. The five stages of service learning are represented in the outer circle of the diagram. The inner circle is used to align elements of another inquiry processes with these stages to draw connections between the practices. With this exercise, teachers see how service learning themes tie into their existing curriculum and how they can use this five-stage method to add rigor to their student inquiry curriculum.