Reflection is an integral component of service-learning pedagogy. It is through the
process of structuring and guiding a student's reflective process that faculty can
help students integrate lessons from their community experiences with classroom theories.
This allows students to begin responding to experiences by using a more critical framework,
correct assumptions, challenge their stereotypes, experience personal growth, develop
citizenship skills, and share their reactions and feelings with their peers. Learn more about encouraging critical thinking in your classroom through reflection.
Quality reflection is well-organized, intentional, and continuous. It should happen
before, during, and after the student’s service experiences. The principles of good
reflection practice are continuous, connected, challenging, and contextualized. Following
a feedback loop, from faculty posing questions to the students, students then responding,
and faculty following up to help students dive deeper into the learning. Eyler, Giles,
and Schmiede (1996) concluded from their research that reflection in service-learning
Continuous: Must be an ongoing part of the service involvement. Should include reflection before
the experience, during the experience, and after the experience.
Connected: Links service to academic goals and intellectual development.
Challenging: Provides an opportunity to explore uncomfortable and unfamiliar feelings and ideas.
Raises questions that may have difficult answers.
Contextualized: Reflection can occur in various forms. Activities selected correspond in a meaningful
way to the service experiences.