Service-Learning to Enhance Academic Achievement Shelley H. Billig Stephany Brown RMC Research Corporation
For Title I, III, and VII • Why Service-Learning Should Enhance Academic Achievement • Evidence • How to Maximize Academic Achievement with Service-Learning • Making the Case • Key factors • Action planning • Crafting messages
Why Service-Learning Should Enhance Academic Achievement • How Service-Learning Works • How People Learn • How the Brain Works • Other Supporting Cognitive Development Theories
How Service-Learning Works • Service-learning is a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of planning, action, and reflection. Working with others, students acquire knowledge and skills and apply what they learn in community settings as they try to meet community needs. They experience consequences, both literal and emotional.
Relationship to Learning (Eyler and Giles, 1999) • Service-learning experiences: • are typically positive, meaningful, and real • involve cooperative rather than competitive processes, thus promoting skills associated with teamwork and interdependency • address complex problems in complex settings rather than simplified problems in isolation
Service-learning experiences (continued): • offer opportunities to engage in problem solving by requiring students to gain knowledge in specific contexts rather than drawing upon generalized or abstract knowledge • promote deeper learning because results are immediate and are not contrived (no “right answers” in the back of the book) • are more likely to be personally meaningful and to generate emotional consequences
How People Learn (National Research Council, 1999) • Understanding is much more than knowing facts. • People build new knowledge and understanding on what they already know and believe (scaffolding).
Learning is mediated by the social environment in which learners interact with others. • Effective learning requires that students take control of their own learning. • The ability to apply knowledge to novel situations, that is, transfer of learning, is affected by the degree to which students learn with understanding.
Learning and Memory • Learning is the act of making (and strengthening) connections between thousands of neurons. • Memory is the ability to reconstruct or reactivate the previously-made connections.
Memory is a ProcessPat Wolfe. (2001). Rehearsal Sight Sound Elaboration & Organization Sensory Memory Long-Term Memory Working Memory Smell Initial Processing Retrieval Taste Touch Forgotten Forgotten
Other Supporting Theories • Multiple Intelligences • Constructivism • Developmental Theories (youth need relationships!) • Experiential Learning Theories (show me…involve me)
Evidence • Service-learning has been found to make an impact on state tests in: • Pennsylvania (Philadelphia service-learning programs)-reading/language arts and science; • Michigan (all Learn and Serve programs) – writing, social studies, historical perspective, earth science, inquiry and decision making; • New Hampshire (environmental programs) – language arts, math, science, and social studies; and • Vermont (environmental programs) – reading.
Evidence • Students have made gains on problem solving essays in Hawaii, Colorado, and Pennsylvania; • Students have shown increases in attendance rates and decreases in dropout rates in many states; and • Students have shown increases in affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement in Hawaii, Colorado, Michigan, Florida, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
How to Maximize Academic Achievement with Service-Learning • Link to standards; • Use instructional strategies with the greatest effect sizes; and • Create a nurturing learning environment.
Research-based StrategiesEffect Sizes and AchievementMarzano, et al. (2001).
Creating a Climate for Learning Safe High Challenge Low Threat Nurturing Inclusive Encourages Risk-taking Multi-sensory Stimulating Collaborative
Making the Case • Where are you on the developmental continuum? • Awareness • Motivation to adopt • Deepening practice • Scaling up • Sustaining
Key Factors • Who will be the champions? • What type of leadership support will be needed at the school, district, and state level? • What evidence of success is needed? • What professional development will be provided? • What will the infrastructure for support (resource allocation, expertise, problem solving) look like? • How will you get the necessary visibility for your efforts and when should you become visible? • What incentives are available? • How will a macrostructure (norms and cultural values) be developed? • How will collaborative partnerships be developed and maintained?
Dialogue • Discuss your own situations. How would you answer each of the questions about key factors at the SEA level in your state? • With the answers, develop an action plan for getting started, scaling up, or sustaining your current partnership at the SEA. • What are the key messages that you need to develop that will resonate best in your state?