Reflection acts as a bridge between action and learning. See the resources below to incorporate reflection into your Community Based Learning Course

Reflection should be incorporated at every stage of your Community Based Learning course. Prior to the start of their community engagement, students should learn about the agency they'll be working with and the population that agency serves. The goal of pre-reflection is to prepare students to enter the community and dispel any stereotypes they may have. 

Throughout the course, regular reflection opportunities will allow students to analyze what they're seeing in the community and what they're learning in the course. Having regular opportunities for this helps to enhance learning and engagement. 

Finally, students should have a final reflection opportunity at the end of their time with the community agency. Ideally, students at this point will be able to understand how their course engagement and community engagement connect. Additionally, they should have ideas for action they can continue to make beyond the semester that incorporate the education and field work. 

"Reflection stimulates the learner to integrate observations and implications with existing knowledge and to formulate concepts and questions to deepen the learner's understanding of the world and the root causes of the need for service."

-Barbara Jacoby 

What? So What? Now What? Model

This is a model of reflection based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle – it recognizes that conversations about community engagement should deepen throughout the experience. When planning reflection, it is important to start at a more basic, descriptive phase and slowly challenge students to process why their engagement matters, what they’ve learned from it, and what action they’ll take now that they’ve done this. 

Ultimately, this model is beneficial for helping students to understand that community engagement should be part of their lives and not just a “one and done” activity. This can also be useful for helping participants tie their actions to course material.