Guide to Reflection

We are super glad you're here. This section gets at some questions you might be asking yourself, and the pdf's over on the right have additional activity ideas and tools to help you craft a reflection model that works for your group.

Remember: never hesitate to contact Tommies Together if you'd rather delegate this portion of your project - it's what we're here for!

Reflecting on Service: Do I really have to?

“Reading (or serving) without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”  —Edmund Burke

Research supports this maxim. Failure to reflect on volunteer experiences actually has a negative effect on volunteers’ perspective on service generally, and often reinforces stereotypes of the community served. In other words, it's super important, and worth making a priority for yourself and your team.

OMG, I had no idea. So how do we go about reflecting...?

Reflection can mean sharing perspectives, experiences, feelings or other observations related to the activity before, during or after the actual event. The Tommies Together Guide to Reflection is a compilation of resources from around the country to help you design reflection that fits your group. The Tommies Together Staff are also super nerdy about this kind of thing, so please let us know how we can help facilitate your group's reflection.

The "What? So What? Now What?" model is a great place to start.

“What? So What? Now What?” Model...yeah, what's that?

Although each question encourages learning, using all three will yield broader insights. Ideal activities using this model allow participants to reflect publicly and privately, using various forms of expression such as journaling, discussion, reading, listening, drawing, performance, whatever you can come up with!

1. What? (Reporting what happened, objectively). Without judgment or interpretation, participants describe in detail the facts and event(s) of the service experience.

2. So What?  (What did you learn? What difference did the event make?)  Participants discuss their feelings, ideas, and analysis of the service experience. Questions can be focused on the meaning or importance of the activity to the participant, the recipient, the community, or the group.

3. Now What?  (How will you/your group think or act in the future as a result of this experience?)  Participants consider broader implications of the service experience and apply learning. Try to strike a balance between realistic, reachable goals and openness to spontaneity and change.

Sweet. What if I only have 5 minutes for reflection?

Consider if there's any way to add some time - the time in the carpool or on the bus can be a great venue for reflection! But if 5 min is really all you've got, the Tommies Together Guide to Reflection has some ideas for you. Check out the pdf's for activities organized by theme, time frame, etc. And always feel free to reach out to our office if you want additional ideas!

In service,

Tommies Together