Sunday, January 25, 2009

Learning through service

Schematic view of curriculum as the course of ...Curriculum in and out of school via WikipediaNils Peterson writes about plans for expeditionary learning at the Palouse Prarie School in his post Implementing Obama's 100 Hours of Service Plan.
For example, a school could set a goal to harness the interests and expertise of the school’s community (students, staff, parents and alumni) to address real world problems encountered by communities both locally and globally. Its curriculum would be designed to collaborate with community members - institutional, local, or global – to identify a problem, explore solutions, develop a plan, and then take steps toward implementing that plan. Students would engage these challenges as service learning. The outcomes of their work would be readily documentable using ideas like Gary Brown’s Harvesting Gradebook. But more than just documenting the student work, the process would have transformative impacts on the educational institution also, far more profound than the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) or the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standardized testing.
MSAD 75 iTeams are using similar strategies but don't have the advantage of having the entire curriculum devoted to the approach. iTeam members seem to be engaged by the approach. Barb Swisher, a Middle School teacher, reported that Brunswick's community service program has become part of its school and community culture even though it is only a part of student experience.

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