Service Learning Advantages And Disadvantages

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Walk around the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and you will find students who have ditched lectures and notecards to spend their time outside of the classroom.

With over 40 service learning courses offered this fall, UW-Madison allows students an alternative way to learn and bring resources to the surrounding community. These classes also have shown to create a new learning environment that provides important experience and aids students’ mental health.

According to the New York Times, service programs are now more common on university campuses. Founded in 1996, the Morgridge Center for Public Service is a rather new addition to the UW-Madison campus. The Morgridge Center works to connect students and faculty with the community
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“That education doesn’t just take place in an isolated library, but that it can take place in other areas.”

Service learning courses are a different style of class that can be “intense and time- consuming” according to Haley Madden, Community-Based Learning Graduate Assistant at the Morgridge Center. These reasons cause faculty to be reluctant to instruct such classes according to Amy Strage in the College Student Journal.

However, Madden described these courses as being “very rewarding.” Also, not having a certain agenda while teaching service learning classes may be positive according to Young.

“I think that at the end of the semester so many unique and different things will come from it,” said Young.

Service learning classes are beneficial if they are structured correctly and are academically challenging according to Arden Moon, professor of Education at Michigan State University. When there is a structure, service learning classes benefit the community partner, the student and the instructor according to
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“In school we are taught so many amazing things, but through semesters do you remember those things you learned? Probably not,” said Young. “I would say that the things you learn from first-hand experience you definitely retain longer. And they just make more of an impact.”

This experience could be beneficial when it comes time for college students to pick a career according to Madden. Because service learning classes offer hands on experience, they allow students to see if a certain career would be a good fit for them.

Not only did these classes offer Young hands-on experience, but they also introduced her to a new style of learning.

“It made me kind of disappointed going to other classes because I felt like sometimes I would be just memorizing things out of a textbook and that I could be using my education for so many other things,” said Young, “or that I felt like I was learning more in service learning than I was just sitting in a lecture.”

Besides the experience, connections made with instructors and other peers help students feel like they are a significant part of a larger community. This connection can benefit students’ overall mental health according to

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