Models and Theories
Reflection is an essential aspect of Service-Learning. In Where's the Learning in Service-Learning, Eyler & Giles (1999) claimed that reflection is the "link that ties student experiences in the community to academic learning" (p. 171). Reflection is based on the theories of John Dewey and David Kolb, who emphasized the importance of action and reflection in learning.
Bringle and Hatcher (1999) noted that at the core of Dewey's educational philosophy were three principals:
- Education must lead to personal growth;
- Education must contribute to humane conditions; and
- Education must engage citizens in associate with one another (p. 181)
Dewey's work contributed to Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle, below. This cycle illustrates the process of reflection. Kolb's Cycle is also the basis for the popular reflection model, "What? So What? Now What?" (This model is available under "Related Files" below.)
Another model that has influenced Service-Learning is Bloom's Taxonomy. The six objectives identified by Bloom as being critical to the learning experience are: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Through reflection, Service-Learning promotes higher order thinking skills and moves students along the continuum of educational objectives. Click here to read an example of student learning outcomes based on Bloom's Taxonomy created by a faculty member at Miami.
Bringle, R. G., & Hatcher, J. A. (1999, Summer). Reflection in service-learning: Making meaning of experience. Educational Horizons, 77, 179-185.
Eyler, J., & Giles, D. E., Jr. (1999). Where's the learning in service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Images from My Bright Box and Karin Kirk