Community immersion is a version of service learning that is more integrated with a student’s passions and interests, is longer-term and is related to the on-going development of community and social justice issues. Whereas pulling debris from a river would be classified as community service, at EUACS an explicit educational component – such as studying the causes of river pollution and how to advocate for environmental policy reform – makes it community immersion learning. Community immersion learning fulfills many of the school’s goals for students – becoming involved citizens, learning through worthwhile tasks, and developing leadership, advocacy and problem-solving skills. It also provides another avenue for students to discover new interests and meet potential LTI Mentors.
Community Immersion (Service) learning is defined as a method:
- Under which young people learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized experiences that meet actual community needs that are coordinated with the school and community;
- That is integrated with specific learning objectives and provides structured time for youth to think, talk, or write about what they did and saw during the actual service activity;
- That provides young people with opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-life situations in their own communities;
- That enhances what is taught in school by extending student learning beyond the classroom and into the community;
- That is related to community development and social justice;
- Helps foster a sense of caring for others through direct involvement; and That is supported by regular assessment to provide feedback and guide improvement.