Ideas for Reflection

Reflection can happen in the classroom, in the lab, within the community organization, or individually through course assignments.  There are a wide range of meaningful reflective practices and strategies that can incorporated into experiential learning, but can also include some frequently used methods such as, but do feel free to use those that make most sense to you and your class:

  • Journals: writing in journals is widely used by experiential learning programs/courses to promote reflection.  They are most meaningful when there are key questions asked which can be then used for analysis i.e. DEAL Method
  • Ethnographies: students capture their experience through field notes.
  • Case Studies: students analyze an organization issue or one posed to them and write a case study that identifies a decision that needs to be made.
  • Multimedia Presentations: students create a video or photo documentary on their experience and share this with the class.
  • Theory Application: students select a major theory covered in the course and analyze its application to their experience.
  • Agency Analysis: students identify organizational structure, culture and mission.
  • Presentations to Community Organizations: students present work to the community organization based on their analysis of a presented need and this can be shared with the staff, board members and participants.
  • Speakers: invite community members of organization staff to present in class on their issue area – good for a Community Engaged Service Learning course.
  • Group Discussion: through guided discussion questions, student will need to think critically about their experiences.
  • Community Events: identify community events that students can attend to learn more about issues.
  • Mapping: create a visual map that shows how the experience connects to larger issues at the municipal/provincial/federal/national/global level.
  • Videos: viewing of a video or documentary to elicit discussion about critical issues that relate to their experiences.
  • Letters-to-the-Editor: students write a letter-to-the-editor or to government officials that address issues important to the community organization they are working with.
  • Creative Projects: students make a collage or write a poem or song to express an experience.
  • Blog: create a course blog where students can post comments on their experiences.
  • Reflective Reading: find relevant articles, poems, stories or songs that relate to the experiences in the class and create discussion questions around this (can be general for the whole class or more specific for each group/student).

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