Service-learning is important as a teaching strategy because it involves young people in engaging learning activities while preparing them to be lifelong members of a democratic society. For service-learning to be successful, teachers must intentionally design it to meet desired outcomes such as academic, civic, and social emotional learning.
Service-learning is a proven instructional strategy to engage students in their education when they understand that their service is authentic, has substance over time, and can be understood in the context of academic or civic content. Service-learning benefits students as they learn to lead their experience, problem-solve with their peers, and access the the expertise of adults.
The student service-learning experience is known as IPARD: investigation, planning and preparation, action, reflection, and demonstration of learning. Students benefit from engaging in the service-learning experience as they lead every part of the process, generating learning and growth opportunities along the way. Even when the action seems complete, the transformational power of the process continues as students, teachers, and communities identify new needs and opportunities.