Reflection is at the heart of service-learning - doing service without reflecting is “like eating without digesting.”
Reflection should be ongoing – it should happen before, during, and after engaging in service. It can be formal or informal, and can be facilitated through a variety of activities.
Most professors direct students to reflect on the service experience in writing. Some ask their students to give short presentations to the rest of the class, or to meet for regular discussions about the experience. Journaling is also a popular assignment.
Nearly every student must write a summary paper at the end of the service experience in which they deal with the following items:
Writing about your service-learning experiences derives meaning from your service. Your reflection paper will enable your instructor to see what learning has occurred during your service. Ask your instructor for Reflection guidelines. Your instructor may give you a guide for this paper.
An important part of the service-learning experience is reflecting on it. A Chaminade student explains:
“One of the differentiating points between volunteering or classroom learning as compared to service-learning is the heavy emphasis on reflection. Although some learning is gained through the actual physical service, I found…that the bulk and core of the learning is done during careful reflection…Rarely have I been asked to reflect on something, anything in school…However, reflection, in my opinion, is one of the very uniquely human things that helps us make sense of the world we live in and clarify our wants, needs, goals, and values.”
Before, during, AND after your service, think critically! Some of your answers to the following may change over time . . .
Your professor may ask you to write a reflection paper – follow the guidelines he/she provides.
Contact Candice Sakuda in the Service-Learning Office if you'd like more help.