Structured reflection connects and reinforces in-class work, text book readings, and civic engagement experiences. It provides an opportunity to think critically about civic experiences, examine and challenge personal values, beliefs, and opinions. It provides a platform for students to ask questions, share ideas and experiences, challenge current solutions to community issues, and develop plans to address community needs.
It is important to incorporate structured reflection so that students develop a deeper understanding of course subject matter outside of the traditional classroom environment. Reflection promotes; interpersonal communication, problem solving skills, self-awareness, a sense of civic responsibility, and a sense of belonging.
Providing a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment for you and your classmates to express the wide range of emotions experienced is necessary.
The sample questions below are basic and broad in nature. They are meant to give you an idea of how reflection may be structured in your classroom.
1) Group Discussions
Discussions can occur in several small groups or as one large group. Topics can vary but should be structured.
Examples for the beginning of the semester (may be used in journaling assignments as well):
Examples for during the semester (may be used in journaling assignments as well):
Toward the end of the semester (may be used in journaling assignments as well):
A journal is a record of meaningful events, thoughts, feelings, interpretations and ideas. In this class your journal will be focused on service experiences and the learning you gain from the experience.
You may be asked to keep a journal to document experiences at the community site. These entries should include more than just what you did that day. Journals should include information on how you were affected by your experience. Journals may be collected and reviewed several times throughout the semester.
Why a service-learning journal?
Examples of journaling assignment questions:
A final paper or several small papers throughout the semester may be an alternative to journaling or may be a way to organize what has been written in a journal.
Example: Describe the community site where you served, including the site’s mission and goals. What were your duties and responsibilities at the site? How has this experience changed your value and belief system? How has your service affected your own sense of civic responsibility?
In what ways has your service-learning experience made the course material relevant? Be specific and provide concrete examples.
Explain why your service was important to you and the service-learning site.
Your professor may utilize this medium as a way to present a collection of information obtained throughout the semester. It may include portions of your journal, pictures, community site information, brochures, etc. Portfolios may be used in a formal presentation or to hand in for grading.
Presentations may or may not be a part of the course. This medium can be used for you to showcase to your class, community site and/or college community your service-learning experience. This can be accomplished in a large group, in several small groups, or individually.