Sea to Sky Outdoor School has long promoted the mantra of Wow, Wonder, and Work. After learners engage with a topic with an inspiring experience (Wow) and reflect on this experience (Wonder), students can put their learning to use (Work). The latter part operationalizes beliefs and makes learning relevant; and likely does the world good.
Often in school, all three of these occur during instructional hours making me wonder if the work truly is service. Just as guided inquiry is needed as students learn to enter their own cycles of inquiry, perhaps a guided service cycle is needed prior to students entering into their own cycle of service, but the goal of service learning should be that students perform service on their own time, and not to earn points. If the Wow and Wonder are truly effective, students will be motivated to share their learning with others and put their learning to use.
At Bowen Island Community School, School District 45’s academy outside45 has much work ahead in embedding service in learning, but I was pleased that approximately 40 students and parents came to help build our school’s second garden this past Saturday. The event was organized by BICS’ Community School Coordinator Sarah Haxby and O45 teachers. There were no service points awarded and many of the students who attended were in Grade 7 so by the time the garden will be built they will no longer be at BICS. They do have the privilege of knowing that they helped the school and all of the students who come after them though. Service.
outside45 has in its first two years really focused on the Wow and Wonder of education. In future blog posts, I hope to share some thinking about the role of service in education and in speaking with students, parents, and outside45’s thoughtful educators, share what it looks like.
There will always be a place for service occurring within “school hours” but I think the standard of success for service learning is when students put their learning to use on their own time.