Service-Learning and Team Based Learning Engage Together

Karen Peterson
Department of English, University of South Alabama

This presentation will demonstrate that service-learning projects can be successful using team based learning approaches.  It will also show that TBL can engage the typically unreceptive demographic of marginal students.

The focus will be on a successful service-learning project University of South Alabama students did using team based learning strategies. This project was for young girls at Mobile’s Strickland Youth Center.  Strickland houses young men and women who have gotten in trouble with the law, but still are juveniles.  These young women have a chance to turn their life around because their arrest record will not go on their permanent record.

U.S.A. World Literature students went to Strickland during Spring Break to share Robert Frost poetry with the girls living there.  They put the girls into teams, and U.S.A. students joined each team to help lead and keep the groups focused.  We had created team activities to help the girls engage with the text.  The girls were thrilled to talk to college students, and they quickly became competitive in defending their team’s interpretation of the poems to the group.

This presentation will focus on how successful team based learning strategies can be in engaging marginal students and even those with a history of bad behavior.  This method can be utilized for both tutoring and mentoring service-learning projects.