Connect Service to Life

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?
  • Why?
  • 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?
  • Why?
  • 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?

Now what?

  • 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

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