Saint Louis University

Why reflect? Why is reflection such a necessary component to a good service-learning experience? Reflection serves as a bridge between course objectives and experience in the community. It is important to not only reflect on your experiences after you complete the service work, but before and during the service as well.


Before you begin:

  • What expectations do you have about your service experience?
  • What are the needs of the agency/community that I will be serving? 
  • What can I do to be sensitive to the needs of the community that I am serving?
  • How can I show respect for the norms and traditions of the community?

During and after your service experience:

  • Why is your service work needed?
  • What are the greater social issues? What can be done to solve these?
  • Have you felt uncomfortable? If so, provide the context.
  • Has your understanding of community changed by your involvement? If so, how has it? 
  • How do your class readings, discussions, and lectures inform your experiences in the community?
  • What have you learned from any disappointments or successes while involved with the service site?
  • What have you learned about yourself through this experience? 
  • How can you educate others or raise awareness about this group or social issue? 
  • Do you see a connection between your service experiences and the course objectives? 
  • How does your service experience connect to your future goals?

Some Good Reflection Techniques

There are a variety of ways to reflect on your service and how it relates to your course, some of which include:

  • Writing: Journaling, or writing a paper on your experience. If you keep a journal, be sure to go back and read what you wrote at the beginning of your experience.
  • Relating: Telling others about your experiences in a small groups setting, or in front of your class 
  • Multimedia: Using photos or video documentaries can be an effective way to reflect on the work that you did. Be sure to obtain permission before taking photos or doing any type of recording.