Processing the experience is a core component of an effective service learning experience. You can process in a group or have group members create journals or portfolios. The questions here can be used for any of those methods; choose the ones that will help your group members internalize their service learning experience. This first group of questions will help reflect on what happened?
- Look back on today. What struck you most strongly?
- What happened?
- What images stand out in your mind? What sights, sounds and smells?
- What experiences and conversations do you especially remember?
- What is it about these images that make you remember them?
- Who did you meet and work with during the day?
- Who did you relate to most easily? Who did you find it hardest to talk to?
- What did you learn about the people you met? How are they like you?
- How are they different?
- What needs did your service try to meet? Did it succeed? Why or why not?
- What information or skills did you learn today?
- How did you apply what you knew before to this project?
What does it mean?
- What was happening in your heart? What did you feel? Were you upset?
- Were you surprised? Confused? Content? What touched you most deeply?
- What did you find frustrating? What did you find most hopeful?
- What would it be like to trade places with the people you worked with?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What do you like about what you learned? What would you like to change?
- How did the experience change or challenge your convictions and beliefs?
- How were justice and injustice present in the situations you faced today?
- Did you learn anything new about what causes suffering?
- What did you learn about how you can make things better?
- How are you part of the problem? How are you part of the solution?
- What did you learn today that will help you in your future service work?
- What needs to change in the world to make things better?
- What needs to change in you?
- What hopes and expectations do you have for those you served? For yourself?
- How did the service experience affect how you would like to live?
- How did it affect what type of job or career you might choose?
Adapted from An Asset Builder’s Guide to Service Learning, A Search Institute Publication, 2000, page 96