The reciprocal nature of serving and learning can be nicely demonstrated by inviting members of the community into the classroom. In so doing, the lines between who is serving and who is learning become less distinct.
Other advantages of bringing the community to the classroom are:
Unique concerns and challenges present themselves when integrating Service Learning into a course:
Jeff Howard, editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, has devised the following model to describe a series of changes - power shifts, if you will - that occur as classrooms are transformed by the presence of actively-engaged students such as service learners.
In Howard's Stage 1 classroom, which he dubs "conform", the teacher lectures; the students take notes. Interaction occurs primarily through tests, assignments, some eye contact, and occasional questions. Stage 2, "re-norm," has the instructor becoming more of a coach -- nudging students to take a more active role in the teaching/ learning process. By Stage 3 "storm," students are clamoring for an active presence in class (thus the "storm" notation). Finally, in Stage 4 "perform," there is an easy give and take between professor and student because all are more comfortable in their new roles. The divisions between "teacher" and "student" are less pronounced. Students begin to take more responsibility for their own learning. The teacher, rather than relinquishing the role of "expert", begins to share this position with the students. This is not anarchy in the making. The teacher is still the leader, facilitating discussion, offering insights, and encouraging analysis and critical thinking by the students.