The student lounge at South City Campus is the location. Some of Liz Montague’s service-learning English 2010 class can be found here in their separate service learning groups finishing up their final presentations. It all comes down to this; after at least 15 hours of volunteering with a non-profit organization of their choice on top of a semester of English 2010 classes, this is their chance to show everyone what they accomplished with their non-profit organization, what they got from this experience, and how their volunteering helped.
After sitting through a couple of sessions of this class, it can be said that this appears to be the main focus of this English 2010 class, opposed to English. This class seemed geared towards volunteering hours and what students were able to accomplish (instead of working on developing their English skills) and use in future English classes.
When students of Montague’s class were asked their opinion on being in a service-learning class at the beginning of the semester, most everyone had a positive outlook on the semester to come, but how do they feel about service learning now, after completing the fall semester class?
Service-learning student Jesse Brake responded by saying, “It is a lot more time, but the workload is the same or even less.” Brake continued, “None of what I learned would have prepared me for advanced English studies and very few of the assignments actually implemented ENG 1010 practices other than proper grammar and sentence structure.”
Brake went on to say, “The current format of service-learning focuses too much on the community service aspect and not enough on academic progression,” and because of this he said the class was not worth the effort and time, nor would he take another service-learning class in the future.
Another student said, “We had one day where we went over basic English principles, like punctuation and grammar, and this was because the class voted to do so. We did not learn any new English principles, but we did learn how to apply them to real life situations, like when we had to write a proposals.”
“No, I would not take another service-learning class because I feel that I get more out of a traditional class. You learn different types of things in service-learning classes than you do in traditional classes, but I get more out of traditional classes,” the same student continued.
“Service-learning combines academic study with engagement in “real-life” situations…” Montague’s service learning syllabus reads. “Full service requires each individual to commit at least 15 hours of service with a non-profit community partner of your choice over the course of the semester. Unless this minimum requirement is met, you cannot pass this course,” the syllabus continues.
“Service-learning is a great idea that will only stand the test of time if we have more exemplary teachers take up the cause and issue challenging assignments. Without these two going hand-in-hand, the student loses either the meaning of service-learning or the tools required for advanced papers required for a multitude of classes to follow in one’s academic career,” Brake said.
You may or may not have heard of service learning. It has been available at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) since 2003.
One student of this service-learning class said, “About half of the students were left at the end of the semester.” The reason that students stopped attending this class is unknown, but it may be attributed to the lack of knowing the kind of class that they had signed up for. Very few students knew that they were signed up for a service-learning class the first day,” the student continued. “The amount that knew they were signed up for the class was very close to the amount of students that ended up sticking around for the whole semester.”
“I had no idea what a service learning class was when I signed up for it. When you sign up for an online class for SLCC, they send you an email informing you of your choice and some tips on getting ready. It would be a great idea if they did the same for service-learning,” Brake said.