Courses and Service Learning

You might ask what service learning is and why we include it in every course in the education program.

Both are very good questions.

Service learning includes academic work that is completed along with practical work in the community, such that the practical work helps students learn academic theories. An added benefit is that students not only learn theories that come alive and are made more concrete through working in the community, they also have an opportunity to serve.

In most cases, service learners are beginners or relative beginners, and for this reason they learn far more than they serve. Still, the goal of service learning is to create some reciprocity, so there is always a service component as well.

Service learning is a proven pedagogical method with a long history. Have a look at the National Youth Leadership Council’s website for more information click here.

For another good resource see the Corporation for National and Community Service: click here

There is a long tradition in education and in learning to teach, that beginners observe and assist experienced teachers in order to find out if they are suited to the teaching profession and to begin to develop teaching skills. We aim to help students achieve these goals through their coursework and service learning experiences.

Just as text-based academic work increases in difficulty and complexity as students advance in their studies, so, too, does service learning. Here are a few examples: In Sewanee’s education program, students begin in the introductory course (Ed 161 Educational Psychology) by tutoring as they are studying theories of child development, learning and motivation. The Instructional Technology course has students working with teachers on using technology to teach a variety of subjects and grade levels. As they study Environmental Education, students work with children in after school programs as they explore the natural environment. Reading to children and selecting appropriate books for young readers helps Sewanee students learn about Children’s Literature in that course. In the 300 level education courses, students help teachers present lessons, conduct ethnographic research on local school-community relations and develop short courses for after school programs.

Sewanee Tutoring

The Education Program sponsors a tutoring program in local public schools. Sewanee students are paid to tutor English, reading, math, and science during the school day (8:00-3:00) in the Franklin County elementary and middle schools. Students tutor small groups of 3-5 at risk students. The Sewanee Tutoring Program began in the year 2000, with a donation from a local area veterinarian and six Sewanee students tutoring science at Decherd Elementary School. At the present time, the Sewanee Tutors serve three schools in the Franklin County School System. Principals and teachers from participating schools are pleased with the progress of their students, and request that the Sewanee Tutors return each new school year. Tutoring is a great way to contribute to the educational needs of at risk students in local schools, and provides opportunities for Sewanee students to make a difference in the life of a child.

Students interested in becoming a Sewanee Tutor should contact the Coordinator of Education, Karen Vaughan.

Work-Study students are also encouraged to consider Sewanee Tutoring for their Work-Study assignments.