Seminar with Dr. Robert Shumer on service learning
21 July 2008
by Yoon Jung Kyung
Seoul, Republic of Korea: From July 16 to July 18, a Volunteer Instructor Training Course was held for volunteer leaders. A total of 27 participants from volunteer centres, community welfare centres and other organizations attended and had a chance to learn about various educational methods and teaching techniques as volunteer education instructors.
For this seminar, Volunteer21 members who are secondary education teachers, volunteer leaders, instructors, professors and many volunteers attended and participated in a heated discussion. The seminar was developed for teachers and leaders of service learning in the field, which was composed of 23 detailed questions based on five principles. It was utilized to examine the meaning and outcomes of service activities.
Dr. Robert D. Shumer is the developer and former director of the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse at the University of Minnesota, the largest source of information on service-learning in the United States. He developed a professional/practitioner-based system for evaluation of service-learning programs which is used nationally and has published many articles and books on service-learning, experiential learning, youth development, and career/technical education.
Dr. Shumer emphasized that "learning by doing" is very important and experiencing volunteering is meaningful. Also, for youth service-learning, proper evaluation must be conducted and self assessment by students is also necessary. Engaging youth in the evaluation of their own programmes is both empowering and effective in helping them understand the impact of their own work.
Since the 'Service' and the 'Learning' are independent concepts, service-learning can be achieved by evaluation. It can connect service to learning through intentional learning, and academic learning can be applied to real world situations. Learning comes from experience, it can also create another experience.
Education will be more effective when it progresses with a sustainable pace. The purpose of service learning is to change youth character and behaviour. It is very important to develop programmes which can achieve with continuity over time, rather than one single volunteer activity. The impact of experience can accelerate when service learning can be achieved voluntarily with sustainability.