Community Based Learning
Questions for discussion or writing
Course theory focus
- How does the service experience relate to class material?
- Did the experience contradict or reinforce class material?
- How did course material help you overcome obstacles or dilemmas in the service experience?
- What aspects of your learning may be due to your service experience?
- Why is there need of your service?
- What do you perceive as the underlying issue, and why does it exist?
- Who is involved in this issue? (in helping solve it, or perpetuating it)
- Do you see connections to public policy at the local, state, or national level?
- What social, economic, political and educational systems are maintaining and perpetuating it?
- What would it take to positively impact the situation (from individuals, communities, education, and government)?
- What similarities do you share with the people you are serving? What differences?
- What are their strengths? What can you learn from them and their strengths?
- How are you perceived by the people you are serving?
- What do you think a typical day is like for the people you serve? What pressures do they confront?
- How does their situation impact their life socially, educationally, politically, recreational, etc.?
- What stereotypes are you confronting about the people you serve? Have you reconceptualized these stereotypes? What new information lead you to do this?
Self focus/personal development
- In what ways is your involvement with your service program challenging?
- What about your personality helps you move past these challenges?
- What personal qualities (e.g. leadership, communication skills, compassion, etc.) have you developed through service-learning?
- How will these qualities help you in the future?
- What happened that made you feel you would like to pursue this field as a career? Or not?
- What can you do with the knowledge you gained from the experience to promote change?
- How is what you study preparing you to address this issue?
- How do your lifestyle choices affect this issue? Is there anything you are doing/not doing that perpetuates the situation?
- How has your orientation to or opinion about this issue changed through this experience?
- Is there a difference between the way [people in your field] view problems and the way they are viewed by people you are working with? What are the differences? Why do these differences exist?
- What non-technical information did you learn about the project from the people you worked with? Is this information relevant to your work? If so why?
- How can [people in your field] work with other citizens together to solve problems? Why should they?
- Do you have any ethical dilemma about taking on this project? Have you been asked to do something that contradicts your values or beliefs? Are there social issues which affect or are effected by the project you have been assigned and, if so, how will you take then into account?
- What is the ultimate outcome of your project? Who will benefit?
- If you put this project on a resume, would you list it as community "service"? Does the [your chosen career] community value volunteer work? Why is this important?
- Think of a principle from your chosen field that can be applied to help understand a social problem. How does your thought process as a [your job title] affect the way you view social issues? Can social issues affect the way you do your work?
- What is the responsibility of a person in this field to address this issue?
* "Pre-professional" adapted from Decker, R. and Moffat, J. (2000). "Service-learning reflection for engineering: A faculty guide" in Tsang, E. (Ed.). Projects that matter: Concepts and models for service-learning in engineering.
Washington, D.C. : AAHE.