Your school will let you know more details about the process you will need to follow when developing and reflecting on your service as action experiences.
The following stages are commonly used to develop service learning and can be helpful to consider even if your school’s process is different.
Reflection should happen prior to, during and after the experience
Some reflections might be informal- just thinking about some aspect of the experience.
And, in some stages of the process, it can be helpful to create a record of your thoughts and reflect formally through writing or other creative methods.
Watch the following video for a quick summary: Stages of Service Learning (3:28) by Learning to Give.
Here are some more details about each stage:
Reflection prior to and during investigation:
What community/communities would I like to help?
What problems bother me? What would I like to change?
What do I value? What positive things would I like to strengthen?
What service as action learning objectives would I like to develop?
What skills might I need to use and/or strengthen to investigate this issue, problem, community?
Conduct research: Generate questions about the issue, problem, community and determine which of the below research methods would be best to provide answers to those questions.
Online (websites, blogs, videos, films), magazines, maps, photographs, etc.
Collecting information online, in-person
Observations (and experience)
Authentic observation of the issue, problem and/or community
Make a plan:
Develop a plan (roles, responsibilities, time lines, resources).
Continue to ask, research and resolve questions regarding the need, issue, problem.
Reflection during preparation and planning:
What resources do I have access to? What resources do I need to get?
Who can I contact to help me or provide guidance?
What skills do I need to develop or strengthen in order to plan and prepare for this experience?
Implement the plan and reflect during your action:
What do I notice about this community, and its response to my actions?
What do I notice about myself (my thoughts, feelings, skill level)?
What successes and challenges am I experiences? How am I addressing any challenges?
What new questions and ideas do I have?
Share your service as action experience with others!
Reflection after demonstration/sharing:
What did I notice about myself while sharing my experience (my thoughts, feelings, skill level)?
How did others respond to what I shared?
What questions or observations were expressed?
How might I continue, expand on or change this service as action activity?
Image: The Creative Exchange, Unsplash, 2020.
There are many ways in which you could meaningfully reflect on your service as action experiences. Your school’s program will provide you with specific guidelines for reflection, but below are a few ideas:
Write or speak in the form of: a narrative, a poem, an article for the newspaper, a short story, a blog/vlog
Perform: a skit or a puppet show, a presentation, a song
Create: a photo series, a video, a painting (with reflection notes)
In addition to the reflection questions identified above, below are some topics and questions that might help you think thoroughly and deeply about your service as action experiences.
What I learned:
What did I learn about the community/person/people/animals I helped?
What was the need or problem that I was addressing through my action?
What interests, skills or talents did I already have that I could apply to this SA experience?
What did I already know about this community or issue?
What investigations did I do to build or expand my understanding of the community or issue?
What did I hope would be different because of my action?
What strengths in the community/person/people did I draw on and use to help address any needs?
What did I discover about any other needs or problems?
In what ways will the effects of my service continue?
What did I learn about myself?
What was easy/challenging for me? What did I do well? What did I struggle with?
What approaches to learning (ATL) skill and skill strategies did I use and how successful were they?
What learner profile attributes did I demonstrate? How did this help me in this service as action experience?
What learner profile attributes were challenging to demonstrate? Why?
What ATL skills could I further develop in order to more fully demonstrate specific learner profile attributes?
How could I apply what I learned to other situations?
What did I learn about collaboration?
How did the group work together (for group projects)?
What ATL collaboration skills and skill strategies did we use that worked well?
What collaboration challenges did we encounter?
What ATL collaboration skills and skill strategies needed strengthening?
What did I need to consider when making the plan?
What knowledge did I draw on to make the plan?
What evidence of my service experience did I plan on collecting or making?
How did my/our plan work out?
What went according to my/our plan? What did I/we have to change? Why?
If I/we did the project again, what would I plan to do differently?
What I/we accomplished:
In what ways and to what extent did I/we achieve my/our goals for the project?
In what ways and to what extent did I achieve the service as action learning outcomes I identified?