Service-Learning-Reflection-Questions-&-Exercises

Service-Learning-Reflection-Questions-&-Exercises








Kari Reyburn
Community Engagement Coordinator
reyburnk@westerntc.edu
608-789-4798

Reflection Resources
Information about Reflection
“Reflection is fundamental to successful service-learning because it is the element that connects
service and learning. Reflecting is the bridge, like a hyphen, that connects the two (Jacoby).”
A reliable guide to help an instructor with reflection is to consider the The 4C’s of Critical
Reflection, provided by Eiler, Giles and Schmiedes (1996).
1. Continuous: occurs before the service-learning experience, during it, and afterward. It is
ongoing within the course.
2. Connected: makes all of the theoretical concepts in class come to life. It is an intentional
connection to the course content.
3. Challenging: reflecting so old questions are seen in new ways, new perspectives are
revealed, and new questions are raised. It avoids simplistic, one-dimensional conclusions.
It pushes students to think in new ways.
4. Contextualized: the process and setting of the reflection should be appropriate to what is
occurring in class and in the community.
Jacoby, B. Service-Learning Course Design: What Faculty Need to Know Service-Learning.
Eyler, J., Giles, Jr., D. E., & Schmiede, A. (1996). A practitioner’s guide to reflection in service-learning: Student voices and
reflections. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University.

How to Create a Reflection Activity
1. Decide the intended purpose of the activity.
2. Develop meaningful, open-ended questions, which cannot be confused or misunderstood.
3. Choose the method for your reflection. Be sure to vary the methods and consider multiple
learning styles.
4. Determine and gather materials.

“Study without reflection is a waste of time;
reflection without study is dangerous.” –Confucius

Sample Reflection Questions
1. When asked, what do you tell friends and family about your experiences in the
community and in this class?
2. What was the most positive [or negative] thing that happened this week during your
community engagement activity? What can you learn from this?
3. Do you know if your work is valuable to the community or organization? If so, how do
you know? If not, how do you plan to find out?
4. How does your community engagement work relate to your career plans? If you don’t see
a direct relationship, try to find an indirect relationship.
5. Have you observed examples of inequity or privilege through your community
engagement work? Give examples/ explain.
6. Have you become more aware of your own privilege or biases through your community
engagement work? Give examples/ explain.
7. Have you become more culturally aware through your community engagement work?
Give examples/ explain.
8. How is your coursework helping you be more effective in your community engagement
work?
9. How is your community engagement work helping you to understand your coursework?
10. What do you NOW know? What do you still want to know? What have you learned?
11. If you could start your community engagement work all over again, what would you do
differently now knowing what you know?
12. Choose three words that best describe your community engagement work and explain
why you chose them.
13. Did you take risks or did you play it safe during this experience? Were you challenged?
Did the work make you feel uncomfortable ever? If so, explain why.
14. Describe what you did during the experience, to what issues you were exposed, the skills
you gained, and/or the discussions you had that impacted your thinking.

“Study without reflection is a waste of time;
reflection without study is dangerous.” –Confucius

Sample Reflection Activities
1. Journaling
a. After completing the journal, have students go back through and highlight
sections that directly relate to concepts discussed in the class or text.
2. Case Study
3. Role Playing/ Recreate a Scene/ Service Skits
Ask students to reenact something that occurred during the community engagement work
for the class to see. This allows for richer follow up discussion and makes the students
who are reenacting explore elements of the activity.
4. Free Association/ Brainstorming
5. Use famous quotes about civic engagement to draw out thoughts or feelings.
6. Have students find a song that fits their experience and then ask them to expand upon
why they chose that song. Share all of the songs in class.
a. You could do this with any form of media: artifacts, news clippings, poems,
quotes, photos, etc.
7. Structured and Guided Class Discussion (or do in small groups)
8. Multimedia Presentation
9. Online Discussion Groups (best if guided in some form)
10. Create a Class Mural
Use paints, draw, or objects and photography.
11. All Tied Up
Students stand in a circle and toss around a ball of yarn by answering the questions the
facilitator asks.
12. The Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Students tell a true story of something funny or awkward that happened during
community engagement. You’d be surprised how discussion will explode.
13. Sentence Stems
a. I hope that…
b. What I remember most was…
c. What I learned was…

“Study without reflection is a waste of time;
reflection without study is dangerous.” –Confucius

Sample Reflection Activities (continued)
14. Five Senses Reflection
a. I feel
b. I see
c. I taste
d. I hear
e. I smell
15. Collage
16. Write a Letter to Self

“Study without reflection is a waste of time;
reflection without study is dangerous.” –Confucius