Guido L. Davis Del Piccolo February 2002
Instructor of Sociology
telephone: (310) 434-3561
Dear Site Supervisor:
This student is currently enrolled in Sociology 2 (Social Problems) at Santa Monica College. As part of the course curriculum, students are participating in a “Service-Learning” component. As you may be aware, service-learning is a teaching method by which students better grasp the course curriculum by actively engaging in community work and then integrating their experiences into the course material. In this way, both site personnel and clients become sources of knowledge and information for the students, and students benefit from a practical application of course ideas while assisting you in addressing an important need in the community.
For service-learning to be effective, students must be engaged in meaningful service, as well as have the opportunity to place your organization (and its operation) within the larger context of society. Thus, I ask for your assistance in placing this student in a position that allows him or her to learn from you, from other site staff, and from your clients.
Below you will find my rationale for using service-learning, my intended objectives, and my requirements for the student. I ask that you review these items with the student so that we can best serve each other’s needs.
Why are we doing Service-Learning?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning method that integrates community service with academic coursework as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking. Through students’ participation in service AND critical reflection of their experiences, we will gain a deeper and practical understanding of the course content. Through Service-Learning, students LEARN not only from the instructor and the text, but also from the clients they serve, from the community agency personnel, and from themselves.
Objectives for Service-Learning in Sociology 2:
1. To increase understanding of the theoretical issues being addressed in the classroom;
2. To stimulate critical thinking about the social arrangements discussed in the classroom;
3. To gain insight into the interrelated nature and underlying causes of social problems;
4. To gain a comprehensive view of the needs of the community being served (beyond just the service being provided);
5. To increase understanding of the operation of community agencies (their existence, goals, objectives, limitations, challenges, obstacles and successes);
6. To gain exposure to economic, racial and/or ethnic communities which may differ from the students own; &
7. To encourage future community service work and social service career exploration.
Students perform a minimum of 20 hours of service (on a regular weekly basis), submit to the instructor weekly journals regarding their experiences and develop a final academic paper INTEGRATING their service experience with the theoretical discussions occurring in the classroom.
If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (see above). Additionally, you may contact Linda Sinclair, SMC’s Service-Learning Director at (310) 434-8205.
Thank you for your time and effort and I look forward to a productive and meaningful semester for the students, your organization, and the clients you serve.
Guido L. Davis Del Piccolo