Service-learning is an instructional strategy that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum-based learning. It is a form of civic education that provides students with opportunities to explore and reflect on what it means to be an active, engaged citizen. Service-learning projects should always include:
- academic preparation
- direct, indirect, or advocacy service activities
- structured reflection
When engaging in service-learning, students apply the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to have a positive impact on issues they identified in their communities. To qualify for Maryland’s 75 hour graduation requirement, service-learning experiences must meet each of Maryland's Seven Best Practices of Service-Learning
Volunteering is good-will demonstrated by offering time and energy to address a need. Volunteerism differs from service-learning, because a volunteer activity usually is not a structured learning experience and typically does not require any academic preparation nor ongoing reflection. Unlike service-learning, volunteers often do not link their service to academic studies nor receive academic credit for their efforts.
Community service is a broad term that can encompass court-ordered, stipended, or volunteer service. Service-learning is a specific type of service that involves the formation of a mutually-beneficial community partnership while addressing curricular objectives.
Work Study Internship:
Student internships are designed to give students the opportunity to learn and build their skills in a particular field or profession, and they may or may not address community needs. An internship at a non-profit organization could be considered a service-learning experience if its purpose is to improve the health or welfare of the community while linking to academic studies, in accordance with Maryland's Seven Best Practices of Service-Learning