Reflection is one of the essential elements in Service-Learning
(SL). Through the reflective process, you can review your SL
experiences and your sentiments and link your community engagement
with your understanding of course learning outcomes. We present
here two possible strategies for a written reflection journal.
Electronic Reflection Journal Template
I-Reflective Cycle (Adapted from Gibbs 1988):
II-Critical Incident Reflection Model
According to David Cooper (1998), a critical incident journal
asks you to examine specific incidents in your service-learning
outreach where you gain insight into course issues or where your
perspective is changed. As described by Cooper, the critical
journal format requires you to "pursue the three rhetorical steps
of description, analysis, and reflection." The following steps
should be addressed in each journal entry:
"Step 1. Describe your role in the incident. What did you do? How
did you react? How did others react?
Step 2. Analyze the incident. How well or how poorly did you
understand the situation? Was your reaction-or the reaction of
others-well informed or based on misinformation? How did you handle
it? What would you do differently next time?
Step 3. What impact did the incident have on you? Why do you view
it as critical? How has the incident influenced your feelings about
working at your placement site? What have you learned? How has your
perspective on yourself or others been changed and/or reinforced?
Where do you go from here?"
To these three steps we add:
Step 4. Analyze the incident in relation to class texts. How did
the texts prepare you for the incident? How can the incident be
better understood through the teachings and texts of your
professor? What about your class work-will be of use next time you
run into this incident?
Cooper, David. 1998. "Reading, Writing, and Reflection." In
Academic Service Learning: A Pedagogy of Action and Reflection.
Eds. Robert A. Rhoads and Jeffrey P.F. Howard, pp. 47-56. San
Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Gibbs, G. 1988. Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and
Learning Methods. Oxford: Further Educational Unit, Oxford
Kolb, David A. 1984. Experiential Learning: Experience as The
Source of Learning and Development.