FAQ: What specific writing skills are learned through service learning, and how do they transfer to the professional/academic repertoire of competencies?
What curriculum models are available for service learning?
In the Stanford Model of service learning, students do a writing project for a non-profit agency such as an informative pamphlet, or a progress report. Students learn the power of persuassion as well as effective transactional communication(Bowden and Scott 216). Since the Stanford Model asks students to write with an agenda to gain support for an organization, or raise funds for a project (Bowden and Scott 4).
Writing as an agent of an organization takes the student out of the typical academic discourse, but it reinforces mastery of rhetoric by requiring the student to mold their persona to meet the needs thier audience in the community. Students learn to be sensitive to the community, while also identifying problems in the community (Cardenas ?).
In another model of serivce learning, students do community service work and then write refelctions about their experience Bowden and Scott 2). Fiddler and Marineau favor the reflective aspect of service learning as the "bridge between the experience and the learning" (76). Students reflect upon thier experience throughout the project in order to reconstruct and make meaning from the learning experiences that occur while they are working.
The third model presented by Bowden and Scott is considered more academic than the other two (3). Students research an issue and and then do community service for an agency that is related to their research. This model allows students to write about thier research with authenic experience. Undergraduate students need more authentic research experiences that are typically only available to exemplary students (Grabowski et al 41).