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Reflection is a critical part of service learning--where the 'learning' really occurs. However, many faculty and students find the concept daunting, and poorly done reflection can impede the learning process. The basic idea is simply to inspire the student to think about their service, especially in following ways:

  • What role it played in their life and the lives of others
  • What skills or concepts they learned
  • What they discovered about certain issues
  • Any other relevant issues that need to be addressed

This process may include acknowledging or sharing of reactions, feelings, observations, and ideas about anything regarding the activity. The benefits of reflection are multiple. It can give meaning to the experience, help students understand the issues and limitations surrounding a site, can create a sense of accomplishment, can relieve tension and re-energize the group, can create a sense of closure, and can foster personal and group development, including problem-solving skills and decision-making. Many different vehicles or methods may be used for reflection. The most important aspects are that the process is well-facilitated and that the reflection method is suitable for the student's learning style.

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