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A key component of a service learning course is taking the time to reflect on the ways that you will bring this experience into dialogue with your future education. It is so important, in fact, that this reflection essay will be the majority of your final project grade. Your goal is to reflect on your completed project and the process of creating it, discussing the ways that the things you learned can be utilized in the future. Like any essay, a reflection essay will be centered on a strong central idea or thesis. Each thesis will be different, because each student will have had a different experience with the process (and that’s alright!) but all the basic principles of thesis statements still apply: it should still be an argument and it should still tell what the rest of the essay will be about. The key to a good reflection essay is to reflect critically about your own learning process. The reflection essay should be honest. You do not get points for having a better or worse experience (i.e. “this is the best project ever” will not score higher; similarly criticizing yourself or project is not the main objective.) The reflection should also be specific to your own experience; students frequently make the mistake of being too general with statements like “I learned a lot that will help me be a future teacher.” Focus instead on the ways that you grew—and why.

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