In a community-based learning and action partnership, each member must meet certain criteria and expectations in order to assure a collaborative relationship. Some of these expectations follow.
Students are expected to…
- Be prompt, willing, respectful and positive at their community-based placement;
- Fulfill all agreed upon duties and responsibilities at the community site;
- Provide feedback about the community-based experience and its relevancy to the course material;
- Participate in course discussions;
- Be open to learning about cultures and lifestyles that are different from their own;
- Speak with their supervisor if uncomfortable or uncertain about what they are to do;
- Respect the confidentiality of the people they work with;
- Call their supervisor, and all those involved, as soon as they know they cannot make it to their placement; and
- Participate in an evaluation process
Benefits of Community-Based Learning and Action
Students involved in a community-based learning project, can come away with many benefits from the experience. Community-based learning enhances a students’ learning of curriculum content by creating synergy between a students’ academic work and activities in the community. Because CBL offers the chance to learn through the best combination of community and classroom strategies, the expectation is that students will demonstrate the following:
- An ability to develop as intentional learners, to reflect upon and develop their ideas about what they are learning in the classroom, their educational goals and identity.
- Cultural sensitivity, an awareness of their own prejudices and respect for and an understanding of diversity in race/ethnicity, class gender, sexual orientation, age and abilities as it applies to their civic engagement experience.
- An ability to integrate the content of the CL course and of linked course to their placement experience.
- An engagement with social justice as an ongoing human concern and an understanding of themselves as active members of their community.
Students develop leadership skills, political awareness, and civic literacy by critically analyzing the sources of local challenges, considering alternative responses, confronting political and ideological barriers to change, and weighing the merits of legislative or other political strategies in collaboration with community members. As equal members of CBL “teams” students learn to listen to one another, to deliberate critically about problems and issues, to arrive at solutions mutually, and to work together to implement them - all of which are important skills in the increasingly team-oriented 21st century workplace.