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Service Learning Lesson

Updated on May 28, 2009

This hub might be a useful model for teachers who have an interest in what is lately being termed "Service Learning".  I found this project to be interesting and a good change of pace for students. However, I wouldn't want to do more than one such unit in the course of a year.  Our school has made service learning a curricular emphasis and asked each department to set up at least one such learning project.  

Service Learning Project for the English Department:

Sophomore Honors English, American Literature.

Unit Objective: 

1.  To connect the study of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne to the      reality of women’s lives in a place in the world where double standards and unequal rights are the order of society as they were in the Puritan colonies of early America.

 2.  Show students how to DO something to address themselves to the issue.

Global Focus:  Women’s education in Afghanistan.  Girls are suffering terribly for the simple desire to be educated.

Order of Study:  After reading The Scarlet Letter, writing an analytic essay on it and discussing Hester Prynne’s circumstances, students watched a documentary titled Daughters of Afghanistan and read several articles about the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We discussed the role fundamentalism both Islamic and Christian has played in circumscribing and limiting women’s opportunities.  Then students researched the issue on the internet and found several non-governmental organizations that are addressing themselves to the concern of educating young women in Afghanistan.  Students initiated email interactions with these organizations to ask what they could as students do to help. 

Service component: 

1.     Raise funds to support Afghan efforts to educate girls. 

2.     Write a letter to a congressman, ambassador or someone in authority whose position bears directly on the concern.   Educate our community about the issue.  We decided to raise money with a carwash and a bake sale.  Our final decision will be to choose to which organization to donate the funds.

Assessment of the project:  Students have been energetic and enthusiastic particularly when they found that they could initiate correspondence with influential people who were willing to reply and assist.  Now our students are excited about fundraising.  They have definitely made the connection between their reading of The Scarlet Letter and the issue of women’s rights in the modern world.  Furthermore, they have learned that they have the ability to actually do something to effect social change on an issue they care about.  The carwash/bake sale raised $683.00.  Students selected an organization that they thought would use the funds wisely:  The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women.


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    • barranca profile image

      barranca 8 years ago

      It definitely was satisfying for me and for the students.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 8 years ago from SE US

      What a terrific idea! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      very nice hub

    • barranca profile image

      barranca 8 years ago

      It went well. There are a thousand variations on this theme that are easy to imagine.

    • profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

      Sounds like an interesting and worthwhile project.