Using Reflection Activities
Help members put experiences into context
Wisdom from the field:
It has been said: "Service without reflection is like eating without swallowing." Reflection is the process of fully digesting the lessons, implications, and solutions drawn from member experiences.
An essential part of service is putting experiences in context and learning to find meanings and take action in the face of adversity.
Reflection in service offers members a way to look back at complex problems through a new lens. Using reflection, members examine their experiences, evaluate them, and apply new insights to future experiences. Members build skills necessary for analyzing and solving problems and developing creative solutions.
If members don't reflect, they will simply report on experiences rather than examine how their actions impact themselves and those they serve. Well-designed reflective activities allow members to acquire a deeper understanding of the world around them and how they can make positive contributions to society.
These resources will help you understand and implement reflection activities.
- Reflection by Design is a Service-Learning Northwest six-step manual for how to organize and facilitate reflection training for members.
- The Reflection Toolkit, from the Northwest Service Academy, has guided discussions, facilitator tips, session plans, and other activities.
- For some background and theoretical framework around reflection as it applies to K-12 service-learning, see Reflection: K 12 Service-Learning by RMC Research Corp.
- The Need for Reflection includes more information about why reflection is so important, plus tips for conducting reflection activities.
- Reflection Ideas Worth Borrowing features ideas for speaking, writing, multimedia and other reflection activities.
- The Council Process provides instructions for this group reflection technique.
- Group Reading provides a process for staging group readings as a reflection activity.
- Youth Volunteer Resume is a reflection activity designed to help youth volunteers create customized volunteer resumes.
- What's Next, a self-guided tutorial designed to help members explore their transition options, also includes a number of interesting prompts for reflection.
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