What is Service-Learning

Service-Learning practitioners emphasize the following elements in formulating a definition of service-learning:
Service-Learning involves students in community service activities and applies the experience to personal and academic development.

Service-Learning occurs when there is "a balance between learning goals and service outcomes". Service-Learning differs from internship experience or volunteer work in its "intention to equally benefit the provider and the recipient of the service as well as to ensure equal focus on both the service being provided and the learning that is occurring".

Service-Learning course objectives are linked to real community needs that are designed in cooperation with community partners and service recipients.
Service-learning engages students in a three-part process: 
  • Classroom preparation through explanation and analysis of theories and ideas
  • Service activity depending on participants'skills and interests
  • Structured reflection tying service experience back to specific learning goals

Benefits of Service-Learning

Service-Learning offers a unique opportunity for universities to live their mission and serve as model modern research universities.

Most specifically, Service-Learning enlivens and strengthens our definition of teaching and service. It also provides an avenue to explore the notions of civic engagement, social justice, environmental protection, and the balance of individual and group rights within the context of a diverse society.

In simple terms, Service-Learning can assist the universities in fulfilling their desire to be responsible citizens and to foster students who engage their minds and their hearts in understanding what it means to be civically engaged and socially responsible.

Service-Learning at the IML

Volunteering can be combined with an academic program at the university or at the IMLS.
The program allows participants to get involved in the community as volunteers. It is carried out through volunteer work coupled with a course on French Institutions.
Thus, the students is not confined in a strict academic setting but becomes part of a richer relationship with the city as a whole.

Over the years participants have been responding enthusiastically to this alternative form of education which gives them an opportunity to gain a holistic view of France while developing specific language, cultural and personal skills.
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