Service-Learning Institute San Cristóbal

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The Institute promotes service-learning as a means of personal, professional, and collective development through social action.


By 2015, the Institute is the regional center for applied educational research in service-learning by training teachers in its theory and methodology, obtaining financial support for projects, and establishing collaborative agreements with organizations and schools that have or seek to incorporate similar mission goals.


The Service-Learning Institute was founded in 2010 by Michael J. Greces, a professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas Language School in San Cristobal.

Since 2005, Mr. Greces has been promoting community service projects as a way to involve students from a variety of socio-economic and academic backgrounds who study at the Language School to address the issues that affect their communities.

Their experiences in turn serve for verbal and written communication practice for students taking courses in ESL at the school, and for the formation of teacher trainees as part of the environmental education component of their curriculum in the B.A. program in English Language Teaching taught at the university.

Beliefs as the source of change

The primary tenant of the Service-Learning Institute is the empowerment of the individual to take action on what they believe needs changing in their community.

While developing their project ideas, the first step is to have them reflect on their values, their beliefs, what their family has taught them as “right or wrong”. They are then asked what is it that they see in society that either counter or support their beliefs. Then, they are told that their service-learning project is a way to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. In the case of ESL learning, they have an authentic, unique experience that they will want to share with others using their second (or in cases third) language.

To learn more…

In 2011, the Institute was officially recognized by the Director of the UNACH Language School in San Cristobal, Silvia Concepcion Ramirez Peña, as an integral part the universities mission to promote social responsibility.

On the schools website you can find examples of student projects in English and Spanish, photos and PowerPoint presentations by Michael Greces and Fulbright scholar for the Regional English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy Daniel Lopez (2011-2012). There is also a book (in Spanish) available for free download which details the service-learning method practiced by the Institute, as well as a project done with 35 pre-service teachers in 2010 which focused on environmental education and community outreach, entitled “Perspectivassobre el servicio-aprendizaje en la UNACH: Unaexperienciahacia el desarrollo integral de los alumnos de la Escuela de Lenguas San Cristóbal” or Perspectives on service-learning in the UNACH: An experience in the direction of the integrated development of students at the Language School in San Cristobal.

As of the spring of 2012, over 1400 service-learning projects have been conducted in twenty one municipalities throughout Chiapas. If you are interested in knowing more, or would like to know how you can help the Institute achieve its mission,please

visit the website at / Service Learning Institute

and email Professor Greces at Esta dirección electrónica esta protegida contra spam bots. Necesita activar JavaScript para visualizarla