Planning your Service-Learning Experience
The following suggestions may help you:
- Get more out of your Service-Learning experience
- Organize and analyze your experiences
- Prepare for the reflection assignments required by your instructor
Define your objectives.
- What do intend do? Whom do you intend to assist?
- How will you do this? Where? What methods will you use?
- What knowledge/understanding do you wish to gain?
- Gaining knowledge implies acquisition of information, facts, concepts, theories or ideas. Gaining understanding implies an ability to apply this information to problem-solving, critical thinking, recognizing patterns and relationship, and to extend learning beyond information acquisition.
- What skills do you wish to develop?
- Gaining skills implies the increased ability to do some activity or task. Skills improve with use and practice. Results are observable.
- What attitudes/value do you wish to formulate or clarify?
Consider your expectations.
- What are your assumptions about the people with whom you will be working or the problem you will be addressing?
- How will community members respond to you - or you to them?
Keep a journal or log.
- It may be a useful way of keeping track of the things you are learning and the kind of service you are providing. Take a few minutes at the end of each service assignment to write down events, questions, and insights. (You may find your early entries particularly interesting at the end of the semester as a record of your development - academically, personally, and within the community.)
Review the outcomes of your activities and experience.
- What was accomplished? What changes took place for you, for individual service recipients and for the community at large?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What did you do?
- So what? What was the significance of your activities?
- Now what? What's next? What are the future implications for you and the community?