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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

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 Corporation PDF)
  • National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

E-mail: [email protected]

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


  • The Resource Center

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: 1-800-860-2684 x100