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Service Learning - Handbook

Reflection in the Franciscan Catholic Tradition


    The following principles serve as a guide for Reflection in Service-Learning:

    • Reflection should be based upon Neumann’s identity as a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition.

    • Reflection should deepen as a student progresses through the Neumann experience

    • Reflection should be diverse and creative in both the process employed with the students and the product created by the students (e.g. journals, film clips, music, making of films, making of art pieces)

    • Reflection should be assessed based on the learning outcomes of the course.


  • The following suggestions are designed to connect reflection with Neumann’s identity. In all cases, reflection should be connected to the course.

    • Selections from Catholic Social Teaching, the Mission and Core Values of the institution, or the Franciscan tradition can be streamlined to parallel the course focus.

    • Reflection might be structured around themes (e.g. discipleship, environment, and peacemaking)

    • Reflection could be based upon the lives of persons who model service.

Samples of reflection processes

Catholic Social Teaching:


Reflection questions based on Catholic Social Teaching


For excellent resources on Catholic Social Teaching, visit the Education for Justice website. Contact the NIFS or the Neumann library for the user name and password.


Franciscan Intellectual Tradition


Power Point Overview of the Franciscan tradition with examples of reflection questions related to Neumann’s core values.


Neumann University Core Values (RISES)

Reflection questions based on Core Values


Models for Discipleship

Invite students to research a “model of discipleship,” a person whose life is a witness to service. Students then reflect on their service experience in light of the qualities of the persons selected. The person selected should relate in some way with the service in which the student engaged.


There are many helpful websites related to “Models of discipleship.” A few are listed below.


Education for Justice (See especially the section on Saints and Heroes)


Nobel Peace Prize Laureates


Academy of Achievement



Use of Film for Reflection

Select a clip from a film related to some aspect of the course or a person whose life is a model for service. Discuss the film in light of Neumann’s identity as a Catholic institution in the Franciscan tradition. Invite students to reflect on their service experience in light of the film. As an alternative, invite students to select a film clip which interprets some aspect of their experience and to write or present orally the connection with the service.


Additional Resources for faculty members and students: The following resources include many excellent and creative examples of reflection activities and rubrics for assessing reflection. The activities and forms may be adapted for any course.


Campus Compact Reflection Resource – This resource provides an overview of the purposes of reflection as well as suggestions for developing and assessing reflection


Sample Rubric to assess reflection papers


Reflection Activities from Miami Dade Community College


Reflection Manual – This on-line manual offers excellent techniques for engaging students in the reflective process.


Reflection to foster Civic Responsibility


Faculty Toolkit for Service Learning in Higher Education from Learn and Serve America’s National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (see especially Unit 4)


Spirituality in Higher Education Newsletter – The February 2009 issue provides excellent articles related to spirituality and civic engagement.


The January 2005 issue focuses on social transformation and service learning.


From the November 2007 Issue of the Journal of College and Character


The November 2006 Issue of the Journal of College and Character explores the intersection between spirituality and service learning.



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