Incorporating Reflection Into Your Service-Learning Course

What is reflection?

“The term structured reflection is used to refer to a thoughtfully constructed process that challenges and guides students in (1) examining critical issues related to their service-learning project, (2) connecting the service experience to coursework, (3) enhancing the development of civic values and skills, (4) assisting students in finding personal relevance in the work.” (Definition from “Using Structured Reflection to Enhance Learning from Service”; Campus Compact).

Reflection activities provide a method or methods for students to process what they learned through the service experience, and how those experiences relate to academic course content. They also provide the time and opportunity for students and community partners to grow and evolve as a result of their experiences in the service-learning course. 

Below is a list of service-learning resources on reflection.

  • Campus Compact. (2001). Types of reflective activities that can be used in service-learning projects.
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  • Bringle, R. G., & Hatcher, J. A. (1999). Reflection in service-learning. Making meaning of experience. Educational Horizions, 77(4), 179-185
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  • “Bringle’s Reflection Activities”
    Strategies based on Julie Hatcher and Robert Bringle’s “Reflection Activities for the College Classroom” (IUPUI, 1996).
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  • Hatcher, J. A. Bringle, R. G., & Muthiah, R. (2004). Designing effective reflection: What matters to service-learning? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 11(1), 38-46.
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  • Reed, J., & Koliba, C. Facilitating reflection: A manual for leaders and educators.
    The manual includes different reflection activities to use with students, as well as additional alternative forms of reflection.
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  • Strouse, J. H. (2003). Reflection as a service-learning assessment strategy. Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement, 8(2), 75-88.
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  • Amulya, Joy. (2004). Guide to Integrating Reflection into Field-Based Courses. Center for Reflective Community Practice, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. Inquiry-driven and critical analysis strategies from MIT for effectively facilitating student reflection in field-based courses.
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Last Updated: 11/14/14