Thursday, August 5, 2010

Georgia State: College of Education to promote service learning in schools and communities

 Faculty from all six departments in Georgia State University’s College of Education will be working together over the next three years to increase service learning throughout metro Atlanta.

The college received a $654,000 grant last month from a non-profit organization, Learn and Serve America. GSU’s education faculty will use the grant to integrate service learning activities into teacher preparation courses. They will also increase students’ civic engagement and academic learning through service learning activities in metro Atlanta schools.

“I see this grant as a catalyst for increasing community engagement across the College of Education and throughout K-12 schools in the metro-Atlanta area,” said Caitlin McMunn Dooley, assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education who wrote the grant.

“Each department in the College of Education has at least one faculty member who will participate in a professional learning community as we incorporate service learning into educator preparation courses,” she added.

The college will collaborate with Georgia State University’s Center for Teaching and Learning and Office of Community and Civic Engagement, K-12 school districts, Hands on Atlanta and the Children’s Restoration Network.

“We’re trying to build the capacity for service learning in education,” Dooley said. “If we teach something on campus and the resources for it aren’t present in the schools or communities, then the service learning breaks down. I’m hoping that this grant will prevent that breakdown by building strong ties.”

Learn and Serve America is an organization that “offers support to K-12 schools, community groups and higher education institutions to facilitate service-learning projects,” according to the organization’s website. For more information on the grant, visit www.learnandserve.gov. 

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