Teaching & Learning Tip #12: Reflection Facilitates Deeper Learning

November 7, 2017

Tip #12: Reflection Facilitates Deeper Learning

HSU currently has thirteen Service Learning courses serving in our community this semester if you include three of our newest Service Learning courses that are piloting a community based portion.  As we are entering the final third of the semester the assignments in these courses are beginning to turn to reflection and requiring students to connect the content of their courses and the meaningful experiences they have had in the community.

Reflection is a core component of all Service Learning because it facilitates the deep connection between meeting a community need, the content of a course, and the personal growth and learning for the student involved.  For example, Mitchell (2008) captures the power of reflection in learning about issues related to social justice when she talks about how simple service can become a deep learning experience when you connect it to critical analysis and engagement.  A student serving food at a food pantry learns a lot about the structures of inequality and social justice when they begin to reflect upon the conditions that lead to the need for food pantries in the first place or reflect on their own positionality as a service provider faced with community needs.  Combined with relevant course content, this kind of learning carries impact and reflection serves to drive it down deep.

Of course, reflection is not just for Service Learning or for topics related to social justice.  It can be a valuable teaching tool for any learning experience and applied to any type of course content.  Please see the attached “Reflection Collection” activities for getting started with reflective activities in your own classroom.  If you have great activities of your own we invite you to share them with us at CTL.

Contributed by Loren Collins, Academic and Career Advising Center

Bloomquist, C. (2015). Reflecting on reflection as a critical component in service learning. Journal of Education for Library & Information Science 56(2). 169–72.

Mitchell, T. D. (2008). Traditional vs. critical service-learning: Engaging the literature to differentiate two models. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 14(2).

Mitchell, T.D. (2014). How service-learning enacts social justice sensemaking. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis 2(2). 6.

See an archive of all CTL Teaching & Learning Tips at: https://ctl.humboldt.edu/content/teaching-and-learning-tips