Service learning, the pairing of meaningful work in the community and structured reflection, has the potential to transform schools. It provides opportunities for young people to test new roles, develop skills, apply academic learning in a "real world" setting, and move toward responsible citizenship. Service learning can reinvigorate traditional classrooms and turn passive students into dynamic and engaged learners. However, unless it is implemented with care, with a solid rationale and clearly articulated learning and service goals, service learning will fail to realize this potential. The power and the promise of service learning are too great to allow this imaginative method of teaching and learning to go the way of other creative approaches — mis-interpreted, implemented with inadequate preparation, and then abandoned.


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