August 26, 2012

Make Service Learning Global: Steps To Get Started


Make Service Learning Global
by Heather Singmaster
August 15, 2012

As service learning has taken root in schools and afterschool programs, its primary focus has been local and national. However, examining global issues can motivate a greater understanding of and involvement in local issues, and vice versa. If you already have a service component to your program, look for the global implications of the issues you already address. Or, help youth identify causes that are inherently global, such as protecting the environment, rebuilding after natural disasters, assisting those in poverty, or expanding educational opportunity, and create local projects that take into account broad perspectives and implications.

It is also important to provide structure, focus, and clear learning objectives for knowledge acquisition as young people embark on international service projects. Remind students always to respect the people and causes you are taking on. Youth should see themselves not as heroes who set out to rescue a victim, but as citizens who share an equal part in the challenges and responsibilities of a global age.

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