Many Courses Include Community Service
Service learning offers students opportunities to make a difference in the community through their academic courses, ranging from teaching creative movement to children to presenting a public literary analysis.
“Academic Service Learning courses include meaningful community service, a clear connection between course objectives and service activities and structured opportunities for reflection and enhancement of academic learning,” explains Anne Ritz, coordinator of service learning.
“Through direct service, our students mentor, tutor, serve meals and share a multitude of skills,” says Ritz. “Through research service opportunities, our students can offer recommendations and solutions based on environmental samplings, water, soil and lead testing, and new technology.”
Dancers Teach Creative Movement
Alma’s fall semester course schedule included Creative Movement for Children, taught by Professor of Dance Carol Fike. The class resulted in interactions between the Alma College students and local first-graders.
“My favorite part of the class was having the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge I have learned as a dancer to teach first graders to have an imagination and to move with their whole body,” says Sterling Heights senior dance major Jaclyn Bodary. “They fully participate in the movement, and I even get to act as a bit of a first grader myself.”
The schoolchildren find an appreciation for the arts, and they always have a smile on their faces while moving about, says Fike.
“They get to move their bodies and express themselves,” says Fike. “They get to be tigers in a rainforest or birds in the sky.”
Play Analyzes Human Rights
English Assistant Professor Dana Aspinall taught Literary Analysis, in which the theme was human rights. The Alma students performed Jean-Claude Carrière’s “The Controversy of Valladolid” at the 500th Anniversary Conference on Universality in Human Rights in Washington D.C.
“The students learned how to read and stage a play, and how the play mirrors society,” explains Aspinall. “My hope is that the audience walks away from the performance thinking they should treat every human being as an equal.”
Through the three years that Aspinall has been teaching service learning courses, he has come to realize how impactful they are on both the students and the community.
“The importance of service learning is the combination of intellectual challenges with the application of it in a community setting,” he says.
Posted: Mon, December 5th, 2011 at 8:46AM