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Is a Service Requirement the Best Way to Go?

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Is a Service Requirement the Best Way to Go?

By Mark Cooper Coordinator, The volunteer Action Center

Pages 143-144

The article begins stating that many schools talk about, or already incorporate a service learning requirement to be eligible for graduation. Mark Cooper is very clear he feel's this is not right, and that service learning should not be seen as a "task" or a "chore" but more of a "desire" and a "want" for students. Mr. Cooper says that many modern day higher educators see service learning as a way to transform one's mindset, communities and organizations.

Mr. Cooper believes service learning should not be about the number of hours completed, as this sends the wrong message and the wrong type of workforce. When someone is told they need to complete a certain number of hours, they work on the hours, not the job at hand. Half hearted work is often the result of these occurrences. Mr. Cooper believes that service learning is an extremely important part of education, but that students should be encouraged and empowered to participate and complete the service, not forced. Mr. Cooper states that he doesn't care who, when, or why a person is involved in service learning, as long as what they are doing is helping. 1, helping those they are working with, and 2, learning about how they feel about the situation they are involved in.

One last thing in the article that struck me as amazing is that the author believed that the best advertising for service learning is word of mouth. I had mentioned it earlier in another summery of an article, that those parents who were involved in service learning as a college student/teen will most likely encourage their children and friends to do it. This article states that when students see their peers participating, they will be more likely inclined to do it.

The Underside of Service Learning

by Susan R. Jones

This article discusses the downside to service learning and how some students have pre-established ideas that ruin their experiences, detour other's from participating, and effect the work output they involved themselves in at service organizations. The article mentioned several mindsets that can ruin service activities for students, and for those that they work with, such as "(person) is just lazy and needs to work harder" or "(person) is at their own fault for their disability" when in most cases, this isn't the case at all, they may not be able to control their own circumstances and people do not often give them grace.

When I started at Wabash Center I assumed all mentally handicapped people had little feelings and few memories. I had no idea that within my first 10 hours working that Brian's



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