Community Engagement : A Form Of Experiential Education

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Community engagement pedagogies are synonymous with service learning. Engagement projects are the ones that combine learning goals and community service to enhance both student growth and common good. The National Service Learning Clearinghouse defines it with a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service combining instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen the communities. (The National Service Learning Clearinghouse, n.d.) The quote below from Vanderbilt University’s Janet S. Eyler (winner of the 2003 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning) and Dwight E. Giles, Jr. defines it as “a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students. . . seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves. In the process, students link personal and social development with academic and cognitive development. . . experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action”. (Vanderbilt University, 2015) Community engagement is incorporated into a course or series of courses by way of a project that has both learning and community action goals. This project is designed via collaboration between the community and the classroom. This service learning project gave give me an opportunity to apply course content to community-based activities. Thus giving me
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