Integrating Opportunities for Reflection
What is Reflection?
Reflection refers to any activity that enables students to relate their service experience to their u
nderstanding of themselves, society and the academic subject. Duquesne’s University Core Curriculum recognizes the importance of getting students to reflect on multiple levels when it says:
Students engage in carefully designed reflection activities that address the service, the discipline, and their own experiences in ways that encourage further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.
Janet Eyler (2001) says, “Reflection is the hyphen in service-learning; it is the process that helps students connect what they observe and experience in the community with their academic study.” According to Dewey, “Reflection is turning a topic over in various aspects and in various lights so that nothing significant about it shall be overlooked – almost as one might turn a stone over to see what its hidden side is like or what is covered by it.” Reflective assignments allow students to examine their service experience from the perspective of their personal growth, academic learning, and civic responsibility.
Eyler, J. (2001) Creating your reflection map. New Directions for Higher Education, 114. 35-43.
Dewey, John. (1910). How We Think. Boston: D.C. Heath & Co. Publishers.
Eyler, J., Giles, D. E., Jr., & Schmiede, A. (1996). A Practitioner’s Guide to Reflection in Service-Learning. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.