Learning the Art of Reflection
Good students and good teachers recognize the value of ongoing reflection. Reflection takes an experience and turns it into a learning event.
"Experience is not what happens to a person; it is what a person does with what happened." Adapted from Aldous Huxley
Many classes use journaling as a means of promoting reflection. Service-learning classes require reflection. Turn your experiences into learning opportunities through reflective writing.
Students may find reflective journaling difficult or tedious. Often, they simply recount the events of their service-learning activities rather than reflect on the linkages between their experiences and course content. To help students focus their journal entries, you can try the “What? So What? Now What?” journal prompt. This guides students through the stages of reflection – narrative, analysis, synthesis, and goal setting. For more information on designing reflective assignments for community based learning, contact the Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research (CETR).
If you are taking a service-learning class, you are asked to reflect on your community experiences. This reflection could occur through journal writing, in-class discussions, papers, portfolios, or a number of other assignments. To help you focus your reflections, you might find these 3 questions helpful:
What? - briefly document what happened
So What? - explain why the events are important or how they relate to course concepts
Now What? - explain what action you will take next