Reflection is the “intentional consideration of an experience in light of particular learning objectives” (Bringle & Hatcher, 1997, p. 153). Reflection promotes more thoughtful and ethical engagement when it is formalized and integrated throughout the S-L experience. Opportunities to participate in the “process of analyzing, reconsidering, and questioning one’s experiences within a broad context of issues and content knowledge” (Jacoby, 2014, p. 26) will support students in moving beyond their experience to more complex and systemic thinking. The models and resources below highlight a range of reflection approaches and activities.

CEVC is also available to facilitate reflection and/or provide resources and customized reflection prompts for your course.

Understanding and Facilitating Critical Reflection

Critical reflection, the “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” (Dewey, 1933, p. 9), is essential for S-L to meet its goals. Lacking reflection, S-L can regress to unquestioned engagement inadvertently leading to hardened stereotypes and oversimplification of complex social issues. For an overview of critical reflection, we recommend Chapter 2 of Service-Learning Essentials: Understanding & Facilitating Critical Reflection (Jacoby, 2015). CEVC has hard copies available and JMU faculty can access the electronic version through JMU Libraries.

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