My hopes and concerns…

I am intrigued by Sara’s suggestion that a community partner actually come to our classrooms; depending on the community served, I think this might be a powerful way to expose young people to university culture and plant a seed of anticipation, aspiration…

My concerns are similar to Sara’s. I envision having to spend countless hours researching, meeting with, and arranging schedules with community partners; moreover, time is really stretched thin in our creative writing courses, which are advertised in the catalog as workshops, and which therefore carry the expectation that a significant part of the class will focus on critiquing student writing. They are not 4 credit classes, either, so I cannot build the service learning part into a fourth hour. At my prior institution, such workshops were capped at 15; here they are capped at 27, and usually gather a wait list. Yikes. The more I write about this, the more I am wondering if it is even feasible! 

Has anyone ever looked into the possibility of adding a 1 credit Service Learning practicum unit to existing courses, which would provide time for the hands-on experiential learning component?  What would be neat about this (but perhaps create its own supervision nightmare) is that students across sections of WR241 (and even 341/441, and perhaps even the graduate workshop), for instance, could opt for the service learning credit, and would come together for this shared work. That would be amazing!  The other concern I have is that, with 27 members in the class, there would not be enough meaningful service for each student…or we would inundate and overwhelm our partners…

Well, it sounds like all I have are concerns, but I think that experiential learning creates many opportunities for thinking outside the box–innovative ways to bring students from all levels of a discipline, and even from multiple disciplines, together for a common learning experience. 

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One comment on “My hopes and concerns…

  1. inderbitzin says:

    Karen, adding the 1-credit SL practicum is definitely a possibility. I’ve suggested it for other classes, but as you mention, it does require some additional time and supervision from faculty. We’ll try to work through some of your concerns in our learning community – we won’t be able to solve them all, but we can hopefully come up with useful ideas and strategies.

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