In this 21st Century, when the world is becoming aware of all gripping social issues and trying to find solutions to problems with compassion & empathy, it is necessary that we encourage the younger generation to think beyond and step up to do something that would make a positive impact to the society & the people in need of a little help & support.
The entire concept of ‘Service Learning’ might appear to be new, but the thoughts behind it have its roots going back to decades. Before digging deeper into this, let’s first take a look at what the general description of ‘Service Learning’ appears to be like.
Service learning combines learning objective with community service and provides a progressive, pragmatic, practical learning experience. This educational approach meets the societal needs through voluntary services and humanitarian activities.
Service learning is like a double-sided coin. While on one hand, the students engage themselves in contributing meaningfully towards the social issues and try to seek solutions to problems. On the other hand, they get to learn through experiences and in the process, they eventually become more matured & humble individuals. It’s through this, that they can apply their classroom learning in practical settings, and know how to be prompt in dealing with societal issues.
To put it simply, it involves outer developments as well as inner growth, simultaneously.
Service learning bridges the gap between classroom knowledge & practical implementations
Let’s try to understand this through an example. You’ve been teaching your students about the adversities and environmental degradation that’s caused by the usage of plastic and how the marine world is affected by it. Now imagine how wonderful it would be, if they can actually be at a beachside, putting in their efforts to clean the plastic wastage, talk to the tourists & convince them not to litter, and actively contribute towards the well-being of the marine life through conservation programs. That’s exactly what ‘service learning’ journeys are meant to do & Volunteering Solutions can create that perfect opportunity for young learners!
Service learning trips would enable students to connect deeply with the communities
In other words, it would make a way for urban youngsters to live in a society that’s completely different from that of their own. While working with the locals of a place, they will get to interact with them on a regular basis, understand their way of life & know their problems, trying to find solutions – and in the process, they’ll become more responsible, politically engaged citizens with a stronger sense of equality and social justice.
Service learning trips help students to be more focused and career oriented
While the four walls of the classroom bind them to concentrate in the textbooks & blackboards, the learning journeys encourage them to flap their wings and dream of things that can’t be possible within the boundaries. It helps to nurture their social skills, boosts their leadership, managerial & teamwork capacities, gives chances to frequently use their common sense, follow good work ethics, and polish their critical thinking skills. In other words, a service learning trip naturally helps a student to understand his/her passion and pursue a career of his/her choice.
Service learning trips can enable students to develop their creative thinking capacity
It’s a teacher’s sole responsibility to create a space for the students where they can think freely and use their ideas, fetching fruitful outcomes. This surely is something that can’t be achieved inside the classroom, and hence, embarking on a service learning journey is important. It’s essential for every individual to become a critical and creative thinker, who can solve problems and come up with novel ideas, solve problems and create a bigger impact. A service learning project will often pose unexpected challenges and curveballs, which makes it the perfect incubator for the youngsters’ thinking abilities.
Undoubtedly, service learning trips endow the students with endless opportunities to get the exposure to real-world issues and gain first-hand work experience through active participation. Like Mahatma Gandhi has once said, ‘Be the change you wish to see’ – it’s the time that the mentors & teachers create a space for the learners to step ahead of their comfort zone and be a part of trivial social issues, making a positive change.
Mr. Saurabh Sabharwal,
Founder of Volunteering Solutions