Vashon Island StudentLink

2013TeachthruMSIStudent trainers can be effective trainers for other students and/or adults. For instance, students can lead trainings around a special curriculum, such as interpersonal violence or environmental issues. On Vashon Island, Washington, students from StudentLink, the local alternative high school facilitated a service learning training event for teachers and youth workers from their community. Over two days student trainers taught about the basics of service learning, implementing a project, and assessing youth voice.

Students Teaching Teachers About Service Learning

For two consecutive Thursdays in February, students from the Vashon Island Youth Council conducted teacher in-service trainings.

The young people, ages 12-18, educated teachers, school administrators, city officials and other community members about service learning for in two three-hour sessions.

“The students were organized, knowledgeable and energetic in their presentations,” remarked Nasue Nishida, Learn and Serve Program Specialist at the State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. “They presented service learning in an entirely new way for many experienced and new teachers and interested community participants.”

The students taught participants from all levels of service learning knowledge and experience, from service learning “rookies” through the most seasoned practitioners.

“Most workshops can’t meet the needs of everyone there. These students did that, engaging everyone in lively dialogue, initiative activities, small group facilitation, brainstorming and action planning,” said Nishida.

When asked whether she’ll promote this method, Nishida responded “Yes, definitely. I think that students in all areas, rural and urban, wealthy and lowincome, have worthy experiences to share with adults, and their teachers. We will promote this heavily in the future.”(Fletcher, 2001)

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Published by Adam F. C. Fletcher

Adam is the founding director of SoundOut. An author, speaker and consultant, he has worked with K-12 schools, districts, nonprofits and others for more than 15 years. Learn more about him at

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