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REFLECTION THROUGH JOURNAL WRITING ON SERVICE-LEARNING

(15% of course grade)

Sociology 2; Spring 2002  :  Instructor: Guido L. Davis Del Piccolo

 

In order for the “learning” to occur in the “service-learning” experience, it requires that you “reflect” on your experiences.  In essence, this means stepping back from the experience and actually thinking about what happened (and why) on any given day.  Moreover, this means placing your experiences within the context of the course material.  This is difficult to do, but is extremely valuable in the end.

 

Think of your journals as “activity logs,” “diaries,” “test review sessions,” and “critical thinking essays” all-in-one.  This means that you take note of what you actually did.  You also note your perceptions, emotions, expectations, challenges, and successes.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, you take a step back and look at the entire situation (including yourself and your role) from the outside.  Thus, you note how the experiences tie into the course material (lectures, discussions, texts).

 

In a journal entry, there is no right answer.  You don’t write what you think the instructor wants to hear.  You just write.  And it doesn’t have to be long.  For every hour of service, you should probably write for about 15 minutes.  Write as soon as possible after your site visit.  Your journals must be turned in regularly and by the due date for that particular journal. The journal should be typed (but write freely—I don’t care about grammar here).

 

As your service progresses, your journals will likely change.  As a result, we then have another piece of “data” at the end—your journals.  On your 10th site visit, it would be hard to remember how you perceived the situation on your 2nd visit.  With a journal, we can look back and learn from it.  Keep all journals that are returned to you.  You will use them for your final paper.

 

Your journal must be structured the following way:

Paragraph 1:

“activity log”

(not graded; but required):  BRIEFLY describe what you did during your site visit.

Paragraph 2:

“diary”

(not graded; but required):  Address 2 or 3 of the questions below as they relate to your experience (rotate through the items below). 
Remember; write what you like, not what you think will “make a good impression.” 

 

1.       What did you do that was fun/satisfying?  Why do you think you felt that way?

 

2.       What was the best thing that happened to you?

 

3.       What criticisms or compliments did you receive and how did you respond to them?

 

4.       What made you feel uncomfortable/unhappy?  Why do you think you felt that way?

 

5.       What were some of the things you wanted to say but did not?  Why not?

 

6.       The most important thing I have contributed to this site is …

 

7.       What have you learned about yourself through doing this work?

 

8.       What have you learned about the community through doing this project?

 

9.       What have they learned from you?  How do you know?

 

10.   What is the hardest/most frustrating part of this type of work? Why?

Paragraph 3:

“test review”

(graded for content):  Integrate any of the theoretical issues of the course with your observations/experiences.  What issues from the text/lecture did you notice?

Paragraph 4+:

“critical thinking essay”

(graded for content):  Address the specific issue/question assigned for that journal.  This is available through the course web site.


 

 

Journals are graded as follows:  (4 points each; 32 total possible points)

 

·         4 points (full credit): on-time, paragraphs 3 and 4+ well developed.

·         3 points: paragraphs 3 and/or 4+ are not well developed.  (You need to rethink the issues involved in this journal topic.) 

·         2 points (half credit): well developed but late.

·         1 point: little effort.  (You need to rethink this journal, and reassess the purpose of journal writing).

 

 

JOURNAL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

 

It is likely that your classmates will read your journal (and you may read theirs).  To protect your confidentiality, as well as to facilitate the journal collection and distribution process, you must follow the instructions below:

 

·         On the TOP RIGHT CORNER of the FIRST PAGE:

·         Write the number of the journal (i.e., Journal #6)

·         Write the site at which you are working (i.e., Boys and Girls Club, Venice)

·         Write the date you are submitting it (i.e., March 3, 2002)

·         DO NOT WRITE YOUR NAME

 

·         On the BACK OF EACH PAGE:

·         WRITE YOUR NAME

§         This way, when I duplicate them, your name will not appear.  Only I will have the original with your name.

 

·         GENERAL:

·         When you are discussing CLIENTS (the people you are serving), DO NOT USE THEIR REAL FIRST AND LAST NAMES.  Use only their first name, or—better yet—invent a name.

·         Do NOT staple the pages together.  (Do not fold the corners; do not use a paper clip).  Trust me—just turn them in loose.

·         Please number each page.