Service Learning is a new(er) option that many professors are (and should) be talking advantage of. Many have tried to write it solidly in the past, arguing that this is nothing new to our schools. However, it is a practice that has hardly been theorized and is coming more to a head now then at any other time. Service learning involves students in the communities at large, enabling them to go out and write pieces for real-world application. That I said “go out” is a bit problematic in itself, since it implies that the academy is what is “in” and it is to that that the students would ultimately be returning. And that is not the only problem with service learning. Some students are too unexperienced to be able to get much out of it. They do not understand how to take this “real-life” experience and tie it back in with their academic writing. By this I mean that their service learning does not help them to look at academic discourse critically, nor do they sometimes realize the affect their work is having on the community (they just do the work and then they are done). This can be remedied by the teacher actually suggesting them to consider these ideas.
All in all, this pedagogy does give students something to really do with their writing, something for a larger audience then just their teacher. That in itself forces them to consider their audience as well as the organization on whose behalf they are writing. They can also use journals or other forms of writing to reflect on their experiences and hopefully see how they can help them in the future.