Learning by Teaching
In this service learning project, college students worked in groups of three to prepare a 55-minute interactive lesson on one of the topics covered in an Economics of Race and Gender course and team taught the lesson to students at a local high school. Before presenting the lesson at the high school, college students were instructed to choose one or two newspaper or magazine articles that addressed the topic of their presentation. In addition, college students were asked to write up a set of discussion questions to accompany the newspaper articles. The selected articles and discussion questions were delivered to the high school students 1-2 days prior to the presentation. The high school students were instructed to read and answer the discussion questions as preparation for the student-led instruction. The college students wrote a series of short reflection essays and the high school students are tested on what they learned from the college students.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
In order to begin preparing students for the project, a service-learning workshop should be held in class during the third week of the semester. The workshop should provide students with the details of the project; provide students with a demographic and socioeconomic profile of the participating high school and the surrounding community; provide information on the various service-learning models, in particular, the student-based instruction model; and provide students an opportunity to reflect on and share their thoughts about service-learning as part of the curriculum. The following are examples of good reflection questions. Based on your understanding of this community-based learning project, is this a project that you are interested in participating in? Do you think that the high school participants will benefit from this project? If so, how? Each student should then be asked to share his/her response with the entire class.
The groups spend approximately 12-15 hours preparing for the presentation. In addition, each group should meet with the instructor on several occasions to discuss lesson plans or group conflicts. In order to help the students prepare for their first group meeting, they should be given a handout with a series of questions and instructions (See reference under "Resources" below).
Students are also instructed to choose one or two newspaper or magazine articles that addresses the topic of their presentation. In addition, students are asked to write up a set of discussion questions to accompany the newspaper articles. The selected articles and discussion questions should be delivered to the high school students 1-2 days prior to the presentation. The high school students are instructed to read and answer the discussion questions as preparation for the student-led instruction. The responses to the discussion questions are collected by the high school instructor and counted toward their participation grade.
Each student-led presentation should begin with a brief set of introductions by both college and high school students and end with 2-3 minutes of informal discussion between the high school and college students. A wide variety of interactive learning techniques can be incorporated into the lessons. For example, the use of in-class debates or skits as methods for presenting and discussing the material. Small group discussion followed by a large class discussion to organize the presentation can also be used. It is important that the presentations make reference to the assigned newspaper/magazine articles and academic readings from the course. College students can also prepare handouts that are distributed on the day of the presentation. Cartoons or comic strips can also be used in handouts to illustrate the topics. High school students should be told that they will be tested on the information presented in class. For a detailed description of each of the presentations please see the reference under "Resources" below.
College students should submit a short reflection essay and answer a short survey at the end of the semester on whether they believed that the goals previously mentioned have been met. High schools students can also be tested on the material they learned from the presentations.