Reflecting on service
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Reflecting on Service. The Resource Center and The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. A few words to reflect on. Experience is not what happens to people; it is what people do with what happened to them. - Aldous Huxley (with liberties). A few words to reflect on.

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Reflecting on Service

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Reflecting on service

Reflecting on Service

The Resource CenterandThe National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

A few words to reflect on

A few words to reflect on

Experience is not what happens to people;

it is what people do with what happened to them.

- Aldous Huxley(with liberties)

A few words to reflect on1

A few words to reflect on

We do not learn from doing,

we learn from thinking about what we do.

- Northwest Service Academy

Why reflect

Why reflect?

  • Gives meaning to the experience

  • Relieves tension & re-energizes

  • Sense of accomplishment

  • Integrates service into one's life

  • Reality check

  • Acknowledges gained skills

Research shows

Research shows

  • Reflection can have some positive impact on volunteers

  • The lack of reflection has a strong NEGATIVE impact

Citation:Service Reflection Toolkit, Northwest Service Academy: Portland, Oregon

Three stages of reflection

Three stages of reflection

  • Pre-service

During service


Three stages of reflection1

Three stages of reflection

Reflection can occur at any and allstages of a service experience

Three stages of reflection2

Three stages of reflection

  • Pre-service:

    • examine own beliefs, assumptions, attitudes

    • establish baseline to measure change and growth at end of project

Three stages of reflection3

Three stages of reflection

  • During service:

    • learn from peers

    • share observations and feedback

    • ask questions

    • solve problems

Three stages of reflection4

Three stages of reflection

  • Post-service:

    • evaluate impact of service

    • acknowledge personal growth

Reflection may include

Reflection may include

  • Reactions

  • Ideas

  • Questions

  • Observations

  • Feelings

  • Hypotheses

Reflection can happen through







Reflection can happen through

Reflection should

Reflection should

  • Have an outcome in mind

  • Be appropriate for the group

  • Happen before, during, and after service

  • Be directly linked to the project experience

Reflection should1

Reflection should

  • Dispel stereotypes

  • Address negative experiences

  • Increase awareness of community needs

  • Increase commitment to service

Reflection should2

Reflection should

  • Be varied for different learning styles

  • Actively involve the service recipients

  • Be facilitated well for maximum participation, creativity, and learning

See Northwest Service Academy Toolkit for reflection activity examples



  • Service Reflection ToolkitNorthwest Service PDF)

  • Connecting Thinking and Action: Ideas for Service-Learning ReflectionRMC Research PDF)



  • National Service-Learning Clearinghouse


    Phone: 1-866-245-SERV (7378)


  • The Resource Center


    Phone: 1-800-860-2684 x100


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