Published In

Journal of Public Service & Outreach

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1997


Service learning, Experiential learning, Student volunteers in social service, Critical thinking


As faculty embrace community service as part of the teaching/learning process, most often they simultaneously adopt reflection as a critical component of that process. In fact, the most commonly accepted and used approach to facilitate the conceptual connections of service learning is reflection (Stanton 1991). In other words, students must be asked to reflect if we want them to connect the academic content of our courses with the community experience in which they are engaged. Reflection is a process of thoughtful self analysis directed to the development of awareness and attitudes. It has been used to describe a cognitive process (King and Kirchener 1994) and a structured learning activity (Silcox 1993). In service learning courses, reflection strategies promote and facilitate student processing of their community experiences in connection with the course content. Many faculty and students have found that self analysis is achieved more easily and significantly more often that the conceptual connections between service and course content. In fact, many faculty have concluded that those connections are difficult to facilitate (Driscoll et aL 1996).


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