In addition to attending an orientation
and faithful participation, reflection is the third essential
component to successful community-based learning. It is essential
because community-based learning often teaches students both
effectively and intellectually. This is a powerful "double dose" of
learning that requires sorting out.
Sometimes a student's
preconceived notions about people and situations are challenged. For
example, a student may be surprised at how lively and how
intellectually alert a senior citizen who is in frail health can be.
If a Student does not have the opportunity to reflect on this newly
acquired information, he or she may simply decide that the person
with whom he or she is working is not like the rest of senior
citizens. That is, the student will not question the accuracy of his
or her preconceived notions about the elderly, but will decide that
this person is exceptional.
Actively reflecting on the
experience allows the student to think about his or her experience
in broad terms. It encourages the student to put the learning provided by the interaction with, for example, the senior citizen, into
the contact of a academic discipline and at the same time to
evaluate personally held beliefs in light of the experience.
reflecting on the implications of the community-based learning
experience for both the affective and academic perspectives is
essential to a successful course--embedded, community-based learning experience.