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Definitions of Service-Learning

Some service-learning definitions:

"Service-learning seeks to engage students in activities that combine both community service and academic learning" (Furco, A. 2002:25).

"Community-learning activities planned by high schools, with the participation of the educational community, serving community demands as well as the learning of the students involved. It is an experience that enables students to apply concepts, procedures and skills from the formal learning approach of the different subjects, in their daily environment" (Chilean Education Ministry, 2006:15).

"In this proposal, solidarity is objective, content and teaching strategy at the same time. The education of solidarity individuals requires coherence between the values held and how we encourage them. (...) Service-learning promotes integral education, through the development of community service with integrated curricular contents, contextualizing academic learning and promoting citizenship education based on solidarity, critical thinking and participation" (Centro del Voluntariado del Uruguay 2007:15-17).

 "A solidarity action concerned with the young volunteer training. (...) It is an action and reflection volunteering, a space of socio-political education that contributes to the development of a critical sense, human and social rights awareness, respect for the cultural differences and a solidarity testimony and experience" (Sberga, 2003).

"An educational proposal that combines processes of learning and community service into a single well-integrated project where participants learn while working on the real needs of their environment to improve it" (Service-learning Promotion Centre in Catalonia, 2010).

"Service-learning differs from other forms of community service or voluntary work because the education of students and young people is always its core. Students actively participate in the process of understanding, integrating and applying knowledge from various subject areas as they work to improve their communities" (Berger Kaye, 2010).

"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" (National and Community Service Act, Congress of the United States of America, 1990).