Holiday help

By By Jane Stringham

By Jane Stringham

“Reflection is essential?it’s what education is about,” said Luke Garrott, professor of political science, at a Harvest the Learning through Reflection discussion on Friday.

This event-one of the Bennion Community Service Center’s Brown Bag Series held throughout the year-served as a forum for faculty members and students to discuss methods, effects and reasons for service learning and reflection.

“Although students are invited, these discussions are mainly for faculty,” said Shannon Gillespie, coordinator of the event.

The discussions have had problems with attendance, though, “most likely due to bad advertising, ” Gillespie said.

Friday’s group consisted of a cluster of faculty members from various departments, as well as a few students.

Marshall Welch, director of the Bennion Center, said, “When it comes to service, you have to teach students how to reflect.”

During the hour-long discussion, a plethora of methods and techniques for how professors can help students achieve effective reflection were addressed. Avoiding “dear diary” types of reflection from students through methods such as games and writing letters was a key point faculty members discussed.

Uinise Langi, who facilitated the event, brought up the issue of training the U’s professors in service learning. This has proven to be nearly impossible, though, due to scheduling and low attendance at the Brown Bag discussions.

To compensate for this, Welch collaborated with several other staff members to create a DVD for faculty members titled, “Your Guide to Service Learning.”

As well as providing an overview of the Bennion Center, the DVD includes programs for students, faculty and the community about how to develop service-learning projects.

“For the first time ever, medical schools must have service learning to be accredited,” said Claire Clark, professor of medicine.

Clark brought a compilation of her first-year medical students’ case studies and service reflections. The document will be published in the spring and will be used as an example of effective service-learning reflection.

As service learning is becoming a component for awarding colleges and universities accreditation, Welch said, this DVD will hopefully prove to be a tool in achieving effective application of service learning at the U.