Last semester, students in Professor Erin Dupuis’ psychology first year seminar “Brain & Behavior” learned about the various regions of the human brain and how they affect our behaviors, attitudes and predispositions. Students also completed 15 hours of service learning for the class. Some students volunteered at the Harry Tompson Center serving homeless individuals, while others tutored 2nd graders in reading through STAIR (Start the Adventure in Reading). Professor Dupuis’ students also cared for neglected animals at ARNO (Animal Rescue New Orleans), talked with cancer patients at Hope Lodge, read poetry to mentally disabled adults at the ARC of Greater New Orleans, played games with local seniors at the Uptown Shepherd’s Center, and worked alongside individuals recovering from addiction at Bridge House.
What does all of this have to do with neuroscience and the psychological study of the human brain? Ask the students!
As a semester-end project, each student prepared a poster connecting their service learning experiences to one area of the human brain they studied in class. In their community work, the students observed common phenomena like fear, memory, stress, coping, cooperation, etc. It’s not surprising that the study of the human brain can shed a lot of light on these phenomena. Check out the gallery below!
When I saw the students’ posters, it reinforced my belief that there is no academic subject which cannot be enhanced by a well-crafted service learning experience. Want to teach your students more about the amygdala or hypothalamus? Have them do service learning! Professor Dupuis’ class showed how active, community-based learning can deepen and expand students’ understanding of course material.
Want some ideas on how to incorporate service learning into your class? Stop by the Office of Service Learning in Bobet 113 anytime!