Centro Latinoamericano de Aprendizaje y Servicio Solidario

What is “service-learning”?

Learning to Serve, Serving to Learn

Understood as pedagogy, service-learning proposes:
  • + A pedagogical connection in which the educator and educated learn together from experience and together commit themselves in the transformation of reality. It implies action and reflection on the practice and establishment of ties that allow to act and to learn reciprocally with and from the community.
    + Active and meaningful learning, centered on students’ leadership.
    + Training for active citizenship that is not just the knowledge of norms and values and the diagnosis of political and socioeconomic problems, but a kind of citizenship that advances in the elaboration of proposals and in the active participation of initiatives. It includes not only denunciation and complaint, but also taking responsibility and commitment in the construction of overcoming alternatives, and the work in articulation with the authorities and civil society organizations.
    + An innovative look at the very identity of educational institutions, surpassing the "ivory towers" and the "islands" linked by "bridges" to reality. In this proposal, educational institutions do not "extend" to a supposed "outside", nor become community centers that try to meet all the multiple social demands. Instead, they are recognized as part of their territory and community, and articulate as nodes of networks in which work is done in alliance with others, establishing links of reciprocal enrichment (Tapia, 2000: 141-50). In a traditional educational institution you only learn in classrooms and laboratories. The service-learning pedagogy recognizes that learning can also occur in the community and from the community.
    + From the epistemological point of view, it conceives knowledge as a social good, and fosters participatory and committed action-research, and the dialogue between scientific knowledge and popular and ancestral knowledge (GUNI, 2014)." (Tapia, Bridi, Maidana and Rial, 2015)