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Tips for Meaningful Student Reflection

Reflection is a key ingredient for transforming service experiences into learning. Here are some suggestions to help facilitate reflective discussion and thinking among students.

1. Agency information

  • What is the mission of your agency/organization?
  • How does your agency address community needs?
  • What are the sources of these community needs?

2. Service experience

  • What relationship do you see between your service and course content?
  • What has surprised you about your service experience?
  • Have there been any memorable moments?
  • Have there been any uncomfortable or awkward times? Explain.
  • Choose one highlight to share with the class.

3. Personal growth

  • Have you learned anything about yourself through this experience?
  • About others?
  • About God?

4. Journal writing

  • Allocate a few minutes of class time for journal writing or for other writing reflection exercises. 

One idea for semester-long journal-writing is the "double entry" journal, in which the left side is a time log detailing work and activities and the right side is used to record observations and reflect on experiences and readings.

It might also be helpful to open discussion up to how students think this service-learning experience can be improved in the future.

Consulted: Fundamentals of Service-Learning Course Construction, by Kerrissa Heffernan, Ed.D., Brown University: Campus Compact, 2001.


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Weyerhaeuser Hall Room #104

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