Take Charge! 5 Service Learning Methodologies that will Impact Educators and Students, While Impacting Others
It’s true—Gen Z students want to be challenged. They want to be part of the solutions to help solve world problems. They want to be heard, and now more than ever, educators have to become more creative when trying to engage Gen Z students. No longer should learning be taught solely through a text book. Some of the more effective teaching and learning is taking place when there’s hands-on, exploratory learning. By adding music, challenges, innovation and social impact activities, students will maximize the learning while connecting to a cause. Below are 5 practical and meaningful methodologies that educators can use to engage their students while maximizing their learning. Along the way—the teachers, the students, beneficiaries and the partners will all be impacted in a positive way.
Service Learning is one of my favorite approaches I use when teaching and impacting students. When you combine service with learning, not only do the students benefit, but the community at large benefits. BIZNOVATOR is known for running Social Impact Challenges that extract the best from students while they learn to come up with creative ways to incorporate innovation, technology and leadership in their social impact initiatives.
Exploratory Activity Model: Create 4 groups of 5 students in your classroom. Each group researches 3 pressing societal issues the world is facing today. They discuss and assess these 3 issues, and eventually arrive at an agreement to select 1 of those 3 issues and proceed with the “let’s do something about it mindset.” Students are to figure out what is the game plan, how and what will it take to execute this chosen project! For example, if the students choose homelessness, they should partner with an existing organization that works directly with the homeless population. They can do a school wide food drive for the homeless. After collecting the food and using team work and logistics, they need to decide and organize a system as to how they are going to transport the food, where and when.
Next Level Thinking: Maximize the Learning by Using these 5 Methodologies:
Tapping Into Technology: students create a social media campaign to attract other donors and sponsors from the local community. They can create a Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat and a landing page.
Writing for a Purpose: improve writing skills and learn how messaging can be used to influence and persuade people to embrace the cause. The objective here is to make sure all students are attracting support by writing proposals, encouraging others to be mindful of the less fortunate. Since the writing is cause-driven, it becomes meaningful and fun! It also helps improve creative writing skills, something all students can benefit from.
Math Made Meaningful: students use spread sheets to create a database and record all of the funding collected and the total estimated value of the food that has been donated. Students can categorize the food by creating bar graphs and pie charts that will reflect the different types of food they collected. Students get to estimate the total weight of how much food they are contributing. As part of this project, they can determine their economic impact by documenting the monetary value of their food donation. Let’s say one can of food is $1.50 each, and the students collect 1500 units, that’s $1,500 value on what’s collected. Don’t forget they have also saved the homeless shelter $1,500 from food they would have otherwise purchased themselves. It’s now a $3,000 value.
Purpose Means Policy: It’s important to have the students understand that no matter how much food they collect and donate to the homeless, they will not be curing the problem. Teaching them to reflect on advocacy and public policy could also be a more effective way to end the poverty or reduce the homelessness in their community. Through civic engagement and writing letters to their local public officials, they might be finding it a more effective way to be problem solvers.
Growing While Impacting: When an educator combines this multidisciplinary approach to learning, students and the community can have an effective win-win situation. When creating the environment that empowers young people to learn and serve, students are being exposed to volunteering, team dynamics, logistics development, and gaining community service hours.
In conclusion, these impact methodologies allow students to reflect, discover and witness the acquisition and understanding of values and skills building while also increasing their knowledge capital.
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BIZNOVATOR is a youth empowerment platform that offers a year-round experience for young people interested in entrepreneurship, social innovation and global leadership. Through our seminars, workshops, summer camps and in school Academies, BIZNOVATOR helps young people to DISCOVER their purpose, TRANSFORM their mindset and CONNECT to their future. We have recently launched our Online Learning Platform, www.mybiznovator.com which enables young people from all over the world to experience our unique BIZNOVATOR programs. We invite you to join us!
Juan Pablo Casimiro is Founder and CEO of BIZNOVATOR. With more than 30 years of empowering youth and adults globally, Casimiro never misses a moment to teach, coach and challenge his clients to live their dreams. Casimiro was born in Dominican Republic and grew up in New York City.