Reflection is one of the most academically rigorous components of a service-learning course. Students who take the time to reflect on service learning experiences will get more from those experiences. This is why reflections are a required part of service learning classes at IPFW. Reflection helps students thoughtfully process their community work. It helps them critically assess and understand what they are seeing and doing.
Service learning practitioners and researchers have concluded that the most effective service learning experiences are those that provide structured opportunities for learners to critically reflect upon their service experience.
Below is a graphical representation of the reflection process, according to Kolb’s Model of learning.
What? So What? Now What?
As students participate in a service learning class and do the related community work, they should ask themselves these questions: What? So What? Now What? The reflection process begins with a defining and sharing of the "What" of the student's experience, and follows a continuous cycle towards "So What?" and "Now What?"
–What? Report the facts and events of an experience, objectively.
–So What? Analyze the experience.
–Now What? Consider the future impact of the experience on you and the community.
Examples of Reflection Questions
based on the Experiential Learning Cycle
(see more examples below)
—What did you observe?
—What issue is being addressed or population is being served?
—Did you learn a new skill or clarify an interest?
—Did you hear, smell, or feel anything that surprised you?
—How is your experience different from what you expected?
—What impacts the way you view the situation/experience? (What lens are you viewing from?)
—What did you like/dislike about the experience?
—What did you learn about the people/community?
—What are some of the pressing needs/issues in the community?
—How does this project address those needs?
—What seem to be the root causes of the issue addressed?
—What other work is currently happening to address the issue?
—What learning occurred for you in this experience?
—How can you apply this learning?
—What would you like to learn more about, related to this project or issue?
—What follow-up is needed to address any challenges or difficulties?
—What information can you share with your peers or the community?
—If you could do the project again, what would you do differently?