Class Time: Tuesdays from 11:00–12:15am
Room: WH-404

Professor: Laura Reigada
Office: 5309 James Hall
Office Hours: Wednesday 12:00-2:00

Telephone: (718) 951–6021

Course Description: This inter-disciplinary community service learning class will be based on the seminar sessions dealing with the readings and the general orientation as well as 6 hours per week of direct service work with high school students at our various sites. All our sessions will require your active participation. Your ideas, opinions, and concerns are always welcome.

  • To examine our roles as individuals in the world and in our communities.
  • To develop interactive skills while working with people of diverse backgrounds and consider creative ways of resolving conflicts.
  • To practice and discuss various ways of learning.
  • To reflect on our fieldwork experiences and how they relate to current social, political, and economic issues.
  • To develop ways to improve education and youth services based on social justice and equality.
  • To develop a professional identity.

What is Service Learning?  Service learning combines community service with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking and personal and civic responsibility. Service-learning programs involve students in activities that address community-identified needs, while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.

Brooklyn College students in this class are trained to work with high school students on a range of exciting youth development projects including arts, academic tutoring, and college prep workshops, in Brooklyn high schools. You will be introduced to all our sites and tell us your preferences. Once you have been assigned to a field-site, you will arrange with your site director specific times and responsibilities each week. Stick with your schedule throughout the semester.  Always bring identification when you visit your site!

*If you have been fingerprinted let your site director know. If you have not, you are not allowed to work alone with children.

Classwork:  Active and thoughtful participation in class discussions is expected. When participating, please respect others by leaving space for many voices.

Readings: All readings are available at ***Each week you will turn in a brief reaction to readings.***

We will discuss readings in class that are related to your experience as a youth worker this semester. You will be responsible to come to class prepared to discuss the readings. Class time is short therefore we may not discuss every reading, but you are still responsible for every reading as each must be discussed in your journal. If you have trouble with a reading, please email:

Lateness/Attendance Policy: If you are more than 10 minutes late 2 times, you will be given 1 absence. If you miss 3 classes your overall grade (after your fieldwork and class work have been averaged together) will be lowered 1 grade level. Do not miss class. If you know you will be unable to attend, please let me know in advance.

Cell phones: Your cell-phone should be turned off at all times while at your site or in the classroom. If you are in the midst of a crisis, speak to your supervisor about keeping your phone on. Otherwise, turn it off. In our classroom, you must do the same.

Fieldwork: (63 hours) Begin your work as soon as you can. Arrange your 6 hours per week with your site director. Remember you are responsible for contacting your site director and arranging a meeting time. You must complete 63 hours by the end of the semester or you will receive an incomplete. Each site keeps attendance differently—consult with your site director regarding this.

Fieldwork Rules:

  • Be there when you are supposed to be there. The students will respect you more when they see that you are always on site at a certain time. They will notice that you are reliable. This is important because the turnover rates for teachers and other adults in some of these children’s lives can be very high.  You have the power to change this trend if only for a semester.
  • Act professionally. Even though you may be close in age to the students you are working with, you must conduct yourself in an appropriate way at all times. This means that you should consider your language, clothing, topics of discussion, and remember to turn off your cell-phone. You are expected to keep your relationships with the students professional.
  • Be involved. Do everything needed to be helpful. Try. Ask. Don’t wait for things to happen.
  • When in doubt, ask your site director.  Your site director’s respect for your commitment, reliability, & energy will be very important in giving you the most interesting work possible.

Journal: There will be 12 journal entries. You will be required to keep a journal. This is a chance for you to write about your fieldwork, discuss the relevance of the readings to your experience, and to respond to class discussions. This course is different from most of your courses and will require different skills. The challenge is to understand how readings and fieldwork apply to your own life and the life of the community.
Students that receive full credit for this assignment relate class readings and class discussion to their fieldwork experience. In particular, describe what happened during each of your visits to your field site, relationships you are developing with kids and staff, your thoughts about your work, and connecting the readings to the work with the kids.

You must do all of this to pass.  Entries should be typed, 12 pt. Times New Roman, single spaced, .5 to 1 page each.

Group Site Oral Reports: You will meet with the other students serving in your field site to prepare and then present in class a report and analysis of the activities, strategies, approaches, strengths and weaknesses of the work at your site. Your team will suggest ways to improve the work at your site. These presentations will take place at the last few classes of the semester.

START collecting pictures, videos, and other materials early!

Paper: If you signed up for Psych 4210 you are required to write one paper (3+ pages) in which you consider one of the developmental theories and how it relates to your practice and your fieldwork this semester. Guidelines to follow. This paper will be averaged in with the class work. This paper will be factored into your final grade and will be worth 10% of your final grade.

General Guidelines:

  • APA style with at least 4 to 5 references (cannot be a website! Must be journal article or book)
  • Review theory and then apply theory to your fieldwork. For instance, if writing about Erickson’s stage of trust and mistrust while working with infants, you would need to research what this stage is, what is healthy development and unhealthy development at this stage, and what factors contribute to development (e.g., parents). Next provide descriptive examples of how you see this stage in action at your after school site, how might mentors play role, the placement site and society may impact infant development. Think big, is there policy, culture, or community issues to be aware of?


  • 60% Class-work (2 journals 20% each + 10% group report + 10% class participation + attendance)
  • 40% Fieldwork (this grade comes from a site evaluation and a grade given by your site director)

Written Work/presentation:  Each assignment will be given 0-3 points.

3 points:  Insightful, relevant and thoughtful

2 points:  Good, relevant and shows understanding of purpose of the assignment

1 point:    Average work

0 points:  Work not completed with competence and must be re-done to gain any points.

Tuesday Class Schedule



9/1: Introduction to the course and field site orientation 


“Youth Development”


9/8: Meeting with Site Directors, choosing a site; assignments will be made by email.(301 Roosevelt)

“Keeping Kids in School”

“Brooklyn College at High School” 

Journal Prompt: Explain how areas of knowledge (facts, concepts, theories, etc.) from your academic study/field/discipline/coursework are relevant to your service-learning experiences. How does having this background knowledge affect how you engage in your service or how you think about this engagement? How does engaging in your service affect your understanding of this background knowledge?


*****No Class 9/15 and 9/22****


9/25:   BCCP philosophy of working with youth:

“Luring Students with Fashion and Flash” 
“BCCP Helps Launch George Wingate Strings Project”  

Journal Prompt: Who are you? Who are the students you serve? Who are we as Americans? What do we have to do with one another?


9/29: Aspects of Good Mentoring

“Mentoring Relationships and Programs for Youth”

Journal Prompt: Connect the dots between what you are learning and what you experience at your service site. Have you observed models of good mentoring? How do you perceive you will be as a mentor? Describe relationships you are cultivating and any outreach that you think may be important to foster relationships at your site.

10/6:  Social-Emotional Development in Teen Years


“Adolescent Development Chart”
“Teen Social and Emotional Development”

10/13: Education and Equality


“Multiple Intelligences”
“Moving on up: Why do some Americans leave the bottom of the economic ladder, but not others?”


10/20: Building Resilience in Youth


“Resilient Teens”
“What your 1st-grade life says about the rest of it”

10/27: Race and Ethnicity: Identity and Youth Development


“Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”
“Hyphenated Selves: Muslim American Youth Negotiating Identities on the Fault Lines of Global Conflict”

HOMEWORK: It’s My Bag – Find a bag at home (any bag). Fill it with one (or two-depending on the time) item(s) that reminds you of how you feel about your service. Bring this bag with the item(s) to next class. Be prepared to explain the items to the rest of the class.



11/3: It’s My Bag Class activity

Journal Prompt: Think about a major or reoccurring issue related to your service experience. In what way might this issue be considered a problem? What are some possible causes of this problem? What could be done to try to solve this problem? What are the strengths and limitations of these possible solutions to this problem?


11/10: What Do I Do When I Graduate?

Journal Prompt: Think of a time you demonstrated leadership to initiate team action in your service role and a time when you waited for others to take action. What were the circumstances of each situation? What was your response in each situation? What did you learn about your leadership skills from these two situations?


11/17: Group Meeting for Final projects

Journal Prompt: Think of a time when you were able to effectively communicate in your service role and a time when your communication in your service role was not as effective as it could have been. What were the circumstances of each and how did you respond? What did you learn about your communication skills from these situations?

11/24: Career Skills: Resume and Interviewing

***Group Check-in for final projects


12/1:  Group Reports on Site Experiences

Journal Prompt: Discuss your position on an issue related to your service experience.
As you think back on some of the initial attitudes and assumptions about this issue that you brought to your service experience, in what ways have these attitudes and assumptions changed? Why do you think this is? What have you learned about your own attitudes and assumptions as you compare them to those of others?


12/8:  Group Reports on Site Experiences

No Journal entry for this date



Class Discussion Guidelines

AIM: Participate in a collaborative conversation with your peers about course materials, site experiences, and areas of professional development.


1. Listen actively — respect others when they are talking.

2. Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (“I” instead of “they,” “we,” and “you”).

3. Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks — focus on ideas.

4. Participate to the fullest of your ability — community growth depends on the inclusion of every individual voice.

5. Instead of invalidating somebody else’s story with your own spin on her or his experience, share your own story and experience.

6. The goal is not to agree — it is to gain a deeper understanding.

7. What happens in the discussion group stays in the discussion group.

CULTURAL SENSITIVITY: Sometimes differences in cultural backgrounds make group communication difficult. You may have grown up in a community (in a different region of the U.S. or in a different country) in which communication styles are significantly different than those you are encountering at Brooklyn College. Typical cultural differences in patterns of communication include greater or less degrees of bluntness, greater or less assertiveness in speech, and a preference for either direct conversation or for roundabout and indirect conversation. Groups work together best when members exercise a sensitivity to these differences, value their uniqueness, and remain open to talking to each other despite their differences.