From my most recent conversation, I was asked what to do in encouraging engineering students to participate in a service learning (SL) program?
I have learned that in a research university institution, “recruiting” engineering students–who tend to have “busy” schedule and perceive less direct learning/practice in SL program–has been a challenge.
From the “busy” perspective, I could respond immediately that in my SL course, I always have one sentence in my course description that says “Flexible schedules are expected as likely we will have project tasks that require students to go to meetings outside of regular class times.” How one understands the word busy is relative to one’s socio cultural context. In my SL case, I always try to see it from a community’s perspective, that their schedule is not as straight-forward as us academics. And that we have more resources than community groups, we should be more flexible to meet their schedule.
SL is to serve the needs of the community. We are the ones who should fit our schedule to theirs.
As for the “recruiting,” it took me a while. But finally I remember that SL is about civic engagement. Also, thinking about my current TA assignment with the “Taking Initiative,” I offer the following thoughts.