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Why Service Learning Matters NOW more than Ever!

There is a lot going on in this world every day that merits our attention. Daily news describes climate change and coral reef bleaching at unprecedented speeds. While food may be plentiful in some places, it is scarce in others. War is raging in locales near and far that has ramifications everywhere. Is housing a right or a privilege? Books augment learning, yet some children have none. A neighborhood may need an economic boost. How do topics such as these fit within our school curriculum and culture?

For decades, service learning has been a proven pedagogy that enlivens our classrooms. By informing and making connections with the good going on in the world, especially through stories that illustrate how young people are catalysts for positive change, our schools can be part of a new narrative.

Children and teens at all grade levels want to participate in their world and light up with the possibility of figuring out pathways that contribute to the social good. We are never too young or too old to act with purpose, especially one that elevates kindness, promotes equity, strengthens problem-solving, or builds meaningful reciprocal partnerships.

The world will keep spinning and change is inevitable. Let’s evolve with a narrative that shows how we all grew, we all stepped up to the challenges, we used our creativity and connectivity, we made impact, and we were determined. One of my favorite definitions describes service learning as “the fourth wall of the classroom that opens up to the world.” Let’s open it together and see what happens!

Advancing Service Learning: From Ideas to Action (Day 2)

DAY TWO – Morning Session: Curricular Concepts and Reflection

Experience diverse ways to integrate service learning into your curriculum (it’s easier than you think!). Take a deep dive into the process of reflection to understand its value and necessity, plus methods that attract students. 

We are more connected than ever before. The digital world gives us immediate access to world news, global issues, and to one another. While challenges can seem overwhelming, service learning provides a road map for our schools and classrooms to be part of significant contributions and authentic solutions.

Our students have a heart for service and ideas for action. Let’s use the service learning process to move toward meaningful inquiry that provokes curiosity, discovery, and growth. With service learning as a reliable pathway, we can include current issues in academics, while still meeting – and exceeding – the standards for developing knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Learning deepens as these growing abilities are transferred to new settings and situations, all for the common good.

This workshop is suitable for both novices and experts in service learning within a K-12 setting, including all teachers, Service Learning and PYP/MYP/DP Coordinators, and Curriculum Coordinators. Wherever you and your school are on the service learning journey, this experience offers essential concepts, practical ideas, and motivational strategies you can apply straight away!

 

Advance your practice! Join us to:

  • Conduct social analysis through action research—a method applicable to every research and inquiry task 
  • Authenticate community assets and needs—increase the ability to make local and global connections
  • Participate in deep thinking that readily connects to social and emotional development and manifests a more just community and world
  • Elevate question-asking skills—a transferable ability that augments all learning 
  • Create mutually respectful, sustainable reciprocal partnerships—develop understanding of the importance of clarifying roles and responsibilities and meeting personal and group obligations
  • Reflect by choice on significant moments and learning—and enjoy the process of reflection
  • Demonstrate what has been learned, the process of learning, and what has been accomplished through service—resulting in a more astute and competent learner
  • Understand why service learning is a pathway to global citizenship

 

Explore curriculum ideas and academic connections possible at all grade levels. The process is highly interactive to model best teaching practices. You are guaranteed takeaway strategies that elevate student participation and activate students as catalysts for change.

Advancing Service Learning: From Ideas to Action (Day 1)

DAY ONE – Full Day: Best Practices

Explore the foundational concepts of service learning along with the Sustainable Development Goals. Hear stories that both inspire and give credibility to the value and impact of this pedagogy. Participate in experiences that clarify each of the Five Stages of Service Learning in an enjoyable and lively session.

 

We are more connected than ever before. The digital world gives us immediate access to world news, global issues, and to one another. While challenges can seem overwhelming, service learning provides a road map for our schools and classrooms to be part of significant contributions and authentic solutions.

Our students have a heart for service and ideas for action. Let’s use the service learning process to move toward meaningful inquiry that provokes curiosity, discovery, and growth. With service learning as a reliable pathway, we can include current issues in academics, while still meeting – and exceeding – the standards for developing knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Learning deepens as these growing abilities are transferred to new settings and situations, all for the common good.

This workshop is suitable for both novices and experts in service learning within a K-12 setting, including all teachers, Service Learning and PYP/MYP/DP Coordinators, and Curriculum Coordinators. Wherever you and your school are on the service learning journey, this experience offers essential concepts, practical ideas, and motivational strategies you can apply straight away!

 

Advance your practice! Join us to:

  • Conduct social analysis through action research—a method applicable to every research and inquiry task 
  • Authenticate community assets and needs—increase the ability to make local and global connections
  • Participate in deep thinking that readily connects to social and emotional development and manifests a more just community and world
  • Elevate question-asking skills—a transferable ability that augments all learning 
  • Create mutually respectful, sustainable reciprocal partnerships—develop understanding of the importance of clarifying roles and responsibilities and meeting personal and group obligations
  • Reflect by choice on significant moments and learning—and enjoy the process of reflection
  • Demonstrate what has been learned, the process of learning, and what has been accomplished through service—resulting in a more astute and competent learner
  • Understand why service learning is a pathway to global citizenship

 

Explore curriculum ideas and academic connections possible at all grade levels. The process is highly interactive to model best teaching practices. You are guaranteed takeaway strategies that elevate student participation and activate students as catalysts for change.

Child Safeguarding

There are a number of challenges international schools and other organizations face when it comes to safeguarding children, but none of these challenges can be an excuse not to put the child at the center of all their considerations, by having suitable policies in place, and making it an integral part of the organization.

Every international school and child-focused organisation should have a child safeguarding policy, a staff code of conduct, and robust reporting measures in place.  This does not simply mean having a set of documents on a shelf; it is about having procedures and a culture implemented and practiced day in, day out by every single member of that school or organization, in every area of operation, including experiential learning programs.

 

Let’s look at some key areas:

  • Safer working practices, what can make staff vulnerable
  • Roles and responsibilities in protecting children
  • What are we protecting children from, what is child abuse
  • Who are we protecting children from
  • How should we respond to concerns
  • New technologies and their impact

Child Safeguarding Workshop (Day 2)

Attendance:

Aiming at companies and service providers who support schools with experiential learning trips and the provision of coaches for programs both on and offsite.

Outline:

  • Company Child Safeguarding Policy – development and review
  • Recruitment considerations
  • Safeguarding conduct – keeping children and staff safe
  • Scenario-based discussions

Child Safeguarding Workshop (Day 1)

Attendance:

Aiming at those managing child safeguarding in schools, coordinating and leading trips and educational visits, and recruiting external coaches who deliver programs in school

Outline:

  • Developing and reviewing the safeguarding components of a Trips and Educational Visits Policy
  • Service provider procurement considerations
  • Risk assessment elements for safeguarding children
  • Scenario-based discussions

Nurturing Care and Compassion through Outdoor Education

This session presents a compelling argument for the role of outdoor learning in developing empathy, care, and a sense of connectedness among participants. It highlights current innovative practices that emphasize these values and explores the psychological and social benefits of fostering such traits through outdoor experiences. By envisioning the future role of outdoor education in addressing societal challenges, the presentation showcases successful programs as models for how care, empathy, and compassion can be integrated into educational practices. The session concludes by underscoring outdoor education’s potential to inspire a more empathetic, connected, and compassionate global community. Nurturing care and compassion through outdoor education supports educators in aligning programs to the UN’s Global Goals for education, sustainable development and global citizenship, and curriculum frameworks such as the International Baccalaureate.

Cultivating Growth: Enhancing Outdoor Education through Collaborative Communities

Dr. David Marsden has dedicated over three decades to outdoor education, beginning with his formative experiences in the wilderness of South Eastern Australia. As Executive Director at The Outdoor Education Group, he leads efforts to connect 35,000 young Australians with nature each year, supported by a skilled team of 250 professionals. His doctoral research has significantly advanced the field by creating a framework to enhance the skills and knowledge of pre-service outdoor educators. Dr. Marsden also promotes the benefits of outdoor education and its safe delivery through his roles with Outdoors Victoria and the National Centre for Outdoor Risk and Readiness.

Today, as outdoor education occupies a critical role in a rapidly evolving educational landscape, it is poised to impact students and environmental sustainability significantly. Educational organisations worldwide are developing frameworks to maximise the transformative potential of outdoor environments. Yet, challenges persist in crafting inclusive, effective, and sustainable programs that meet global educational standards and adapt to local cultural contexts.

The demand for quality outdoor education is growing, driven by a diverse student body in need of skills like environmental stewardship, health, wellbeing, and social and emotional competencies. This need is met by innovative outdoor programs that foster resilience, teamwork, and leadership in natural settings.

This presentation will explore the role of Communities of Practice (CoPs) in enhancing the outdoor education sector. It will detail the process of establishing effective CoPs, using real-world examples to demonstrate their impact on the quality and scope of outdoor education programs. A specific case study involving collaborations between government, educational institutions, and industry leaders in Victoria, Australia, will highlight the potential of these partnerships.

The goal of this address is to provide a clear roadmap for educators, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to develop a connected and robust outdoor education community, equipping learners to navigate and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Upstream of the Rapids: Why Effective Planning and Preparation Is Critical for Managing Risks

Research shows that most foreseeable risks in adventurous activities are situated in the planning and preparation tasks often conducted well before getting into the canoe or the first kick of the ball (Dallat et al., 2018). By getting the management of these critical tasks right, we are much better placed to achieve the desired safety, quality, and educational outcomes from participation in these important activities.  In this practical workshop, we’ll share a framework that will support you to evaluate your own risk profile, and where necessary, evolve your own planning and preparation systems for out-of-the-classroom activities. Designed for anyone involved in out-of-the-classroom activities, including third-party providers, senior and middle managers, teachers and coaches, this session will provide valuable, take-home, research-informed insights.

Lessons from the Field, Informed by the Research. Insights and practical applications from 100 international risk and safety reviews

Clare will present a range of emerging themes, trends and insights from the risk and safety management practices of organizations around the world. Based on the insights from conducting over 100 multi-day risk and safety reviews of experiential programs, she will demonstrate how emerging trends, ironically designed to enhance safety performance, may in fact, be constraining it.