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Reflection and Service Learning

Page history last edited by dal.edwards86@... 13 years, 8 months ago



 "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."               


Mahatma Gandhi    


    Training Modules









    NC Social Studies

Standard Course of Study 










The cost of not having thoughts in a service learning project is much greater than "a penny for..." one.   Just as the previous module dicussed the need to integrate service learning within the course curriculum, student reflection needs to be an intregal part of a service learning experience.  In addition, reflection should be more than a simple descriptive account of service. Instead, it should be rigorous and promote true self-inquiry connected to course content and skills.  


T.S. Eliot (1943) warns, without reflection, we are subject to having our students "have the experience but miss the meaning". Students simply learn more effectively when reflecting on experience than through experience alone (1).  Only then can students achieve true learning and raise the quality of their service to the community.  Credit should be given only for a demonstration of learning through reflection, not simply for completion of service.


1.  Patti Clayton and Myra Moses. Section II, Jumpstart Service-Learning Resource Guide.


 Essential Questions--Reflection


  • Why is student reflection an essential element to service learning?
  • How can students best reflect on their service learning experience?

  Resource Links--Reflection


  • Jumpstart and Service Learning

    Jumpstart was originally founded at Yale University in 1993 as a non-profit organization focused on the public need for quality early childhood programs and the nation’s growing commitment for service education.  Jumpstart collaborated with scholars Patti Clayton and Myra Moses in developing a service learning resource guide located in section II of this website.  This guide offers a path for institutions of higher education to implement a service learning program into a wide range of disciplines.  The guide provides structure and advice in promoting the value of civic engagement, leadership and service to students.  Dr. Clayton and Dr. Moses currently direct the Center for Curricula Engagement at N.C. State University.

  • DEAL Model of Reflection  

    North Carolina State University’s Center for Curricula Engagement has developed an electronic tutorial on how to improve the critical reflection component of an effective service learning experience.  The tutorial explains an adaptable model of critical reflection called the DEAL model.  DEAL represents the need to Describe, Examine, and Articulate Learning as part of critical reflection in service learning.  This model can and should be utilized by the high school social studies teacher.

  • National Service Learning Partnership A network of over 10,000 members--students, parents, policy makers, community leaders, business people, and educational specialists-- dedicated to the use of service learning in the classroom.  The Partnership is funded through grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and State Farm Companies Foundation.  It is sponsoered by the Adacemy for Educational Development.

  • Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Service Learning Network  The CES Service Learning Network goals include implementation of service learning across all of the core disciplines. The CES Network includes hundreds of schools that reflect "personalization, democracy and equity, and intellectual vitality and excellence".  These essential schools focus on effective practices in standards-aligned interdisciplinary studies, community-based learning and performance based assessment.   This site would be an excellent resource in the understanding of each of the NC Service Learning modules.
  • Learn and Serve Clearing House  Learn and Serve America's National Service Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) touts itself as "America's Most Comprehenive Service Learning Resource".  NSLC supports all levels of education interested in strengthening the relationship between communities and schools through service learning strategies.  This website shares timely service learning information, as well as, discussion lists that encourage collaboration of educators and students on the issues of service education. 
  • Random Mind-Using a Wiki   Random Mind is a blog site concerned with advancing the use of technology in education.  This site specifically addresses the use of a wiki in support of a service learning project.  Other links offer insight as to other uses of technology that could be beneficial to service learning.  Use of a blog is a great resource in the reflection of a service learning project.
  • Service Learning=Solutions Blog  Learn and Serve America's National Service Learning Clearinghouse sponsors this blog for public discourse on trends, implementation, stories, advice, and student success in the use of service learning in the classroom.
  • Service Learning YouTube Channel  This site is co-hosted by YouTube and the National Service Learning Partnership for promotion of service learning in the classroom.  Current examples of service learning ideas and stories are available for viewing.  Teachers are also free to subscribe to the site for email updates of service learning video clips. 
  • Colorado Department of Education-Service Learning Trail Guide   The Colorado Department of Education has approved a service learning trail guide for interested educators and students to follow.  Supported by Learn and Serve America, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the National Youth Leadership Council, the trail guide is divided into three major components--a section devoted to research linking service learning and high performing schools, descriptions and snapshots of service learning "in action", and a resource list for starting and implementing a service learning project.
  • Pennsylvania Service Learning Alliance  The PSLA, through a Department of Education Learn and Serve grant, helped teachers in Pennyslvania acquire the skills necessary to start, sustain, and assess service learning projects in the classroom from 1998-2007.  This site offers best practices in student reflection of service learning projects. 


     Podcasts on Reflection






A View of Reflection


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 Primary Document Connection--Reflection


          Student reflection of their own work is an essential component of an effective service learning project.  There are relevant examples throughout American and world history that demonstrate reflection as a means of self-discovery, individual and community improvement and postive transformation of both.  Use the following primary documents as a means to put reflection in its proper context. Remember to research and guide your students in understanding the hisorical context of each document as a means to answer the following essential questions:  What is the main idea of this document?  What is the purpose of the author's reflective thoughts?  How does their thought anticipate the future? How does this document "speak" to your own reflection of your service learning project?


  North Carolina Service Learning Social Network


The NC Service Learning Social Network is designed to be an online collaborative professional learning community (PLC) for integration of service learning in the social studies.  Through forum questioning, blogs, and online shared resources, the social studies section at the Department of Public Instruction hopes that social networking makes service learning a more accessible, manageable, and integral part of the North Carolina social studies classroom.


 Professional Development--Reflection (Available Spring 2011)


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