Reflecting on Reflection: Capitalizing on the Learning in Intergenerational Service-Learning

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [National Pingtung University of Science and Technology]On: 21 December 2014, At: 23:05Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Gerontology &amp; Geriatrics EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Reflecting on Reflection: Capitalizingon the Learning in IntergenerationalService-LearningRona J. Karasik aa Gerontology Program , Saint Cloud State University , St. Cloud ,Minnesota , USAAccepted author version posted online: 07 Dec 2012.Publishedonline: 30 Jan 2013.</p><p>To cite this article: Rona J. Karasik (2013) Reflecting on Reflection: Capitalizing on the Learningin Intergenerational Service-Learning, Gerontology &amp; Geriatrics Education, 34:1, 78-98, DOI:10.1080/02701960.2013.749252</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Gerontology &amp; Geriatrics Education, 34:7898, 2013Copyright Taylor &amp; Francis Group, LLCISSN: 0270-1960 print/1545-3847 onlineDOI: 10.1080/02701960.2013.749252</p><p>Reflecting on Reflection: Capitalizing on theLearning in Intergenerational Service-Learning</p><p>RONA J. KARASIKGerontology Program, Saint Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA</p><p>Intergenerational service-learning has become an important prac-tice in gerontology and geriatrics education. Although numerousbenefits of service-learning have been documented, greater atten-tion to critical reflection, a key component for harvesting thelearning in service-learning, is needed to increase our under-standing of what students really are learning from intergenera-tional service-learning and how we may best enhance the positiveaspects of that learning. This article examines the elements nec-essary for effective service-learning reflection, as well as reportson the results of a survey of gerontology and geriatric educa-tors (N = 142) regarding their experiences with intergenerationalservice-learning and their use of specific reflection practices. Thefindings suggest that the types and implementation of service-learn-ing reflection activities used in aging courses vary considerably.The importance of service-learning reflection and its associatedbenefits and challenges are discussed.</p><p>KEYWORDS community learning, experiential learning,pedagogy</p><p>Intergenerational service-learning has become an important practice ingerontology and geriatrics education. Numerous benefits associated withservice-learning in aging-related courses have been documented and includeproviding real-life experience and knowledge about elder care and humanservice issues (Westacott &amp; Hegeman, 1996), increasing student understand-ing of the processes of aging (Blieszner &amp; Artale, 2001; Whitbourne, Collins,&amp; Skultety, 2001), helping students translate theory into practice (Faria,</p><p>Address correspondence to Rona J. Karasik, Gerontology Program, Saint Cloud StateUniversity, 363 Stewart Hall, 720 4th Avenue S., St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498, USA.</p><p>78</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nat</p><p>iona</p><p>l Pin</p><p>gtun</p><p>g U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Scie</p><p>nce </p><p>and </p><p>Tec</p><p>hnol</p><p>ogy]</p><p> at 2</p><p>3:05</p><p> 21 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Reflecting on Reflection 79</p><p>Dauenhauer, &amp; Steitz, 2010; Horowitz, Wong, &amp; Dechello, 2010; Karasik &amp;Berke, 2001), dispelling myths about aging and older persons (Karasik &amp;Berke, 2001; Krout et al., 2010; Whitbourne et al., 2001), improving stu-dent attitudes toward older workers (Hanks &amp; Icenogle, 2001; Knapp &amp;Stubblefield, 2000), increasing student and faculty community engagement(Hegemen, Roodin, Gilliland, &amp; OFlathabhain, 2010; Karasik, Maddox, &amp;Wallingford, 2004; Karasik &amp; Wallingford, 2007), and encouraging studentsto choose careers in the field of aging (Blieszner &amp; Artale, 2001; Horowitzet al., 2010).</p><p>To realize these many benefits of service-learning, attention needs to begiven to what students are actually learning from their service experiences.Bringle and Hatcher (1999) noted that,</p><p>Experience becomes educative when critical reflective thought createsnew meaning and leads to growth and the ability to take informedactions. In contrast, experiences are miseducative when they fail to stim-ulate critical thought and they more deeply entrench existing schemata.(p. 180)</p><p>In gerontology and geriatrics, where students often come in with negativeexpectations about aging and older adults (Gonzales, Morrow-Howell, &amp;Gilbert, 2010; Lee, 2009), the risk of miseducation is particularly salient. A fewstudies, in fact, found that intergenerational service-learning has the potentialto produce mixed or negative outcomes as well as positive ones (Dorfman,Murty, Ingram, Evans, &amp; Power, 2004; Karasik, 2005a; Robinson &amp; Cubit,2007). The amount and type of critical reflection associated with service-learning has been identified as an essential factor in ensuring the quality andeffectiveness of the learning experience (Eyler, 2002; Eyler &amp; Giles, 1999).This article examines the elements necessary for effective service-learningreflection as well as reports on the results of a survey of gerontology andgeriatric educators regarding their experiences with intergenerational service-learning and their use of specific reflection practices in their courses onaging.</p><p>Critical Reflection and Service-Learning</p><p>According to Furco (1996), service-learning is distinguished from other formsof experiential education (e.g., fieldwork, internships, volunteering) by itsfocus on balancing student learning with the communitys need for service.Weigert (1998) identified several elements of service-learning, including thatstudents provide some meaningful service (work) that meets a need or goalthat is defined by a community (or some of its members), that the serviceflow from and into course objectives, be integrated into the course bymeans of assignments that require some form of reflection on the service in</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nat</p><p>iona</p><p>l Pin</p><p>gtun</p><p>g U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Scie</p><p>nce </p><p>and </p><p>Tec</p><p>hnol</p><p>ogy]</p><p> at 2</p><p>3:05</p><p> 21 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>80 R. J. Karasik</p><p>light of the course objectives and that assignments related to the service beassessed and evaluated accordingly (p. 5). Jacoby (1996) further noted thatreflection and reciprocity are key concepts of service-learning (p. 5).</p><p>Understanding and implementing effective service-learning reflectioncan be challenging. Some of the challenge comes from the reality that reflec-tion describes both a cognitive process . . . and a structured learning activity(Hatcher &amp; Bringle, 1997, p. 153). Essentially, faculty must create activitiesthat spur critical thought, in this case helping students to think about whatthey are learning from their service experiences. Thus, Hatcher and Bringle(1997) define reflection as the intentional consideration of an experience inlight of particular learning objectives (p. 153). To create effective service-learning reflection activities, Hatcher and Bringle suggested the followingsteps: link the service experience to the course learning objectives, providestudents with guidelines for the reflection activities, schedule reflection activ-ities on a regular basis, create opportunities for assessment and feedbackof the reflection, and design reflection activities that encourage students toexamine and clarify their values (e.g., related to social responsibility, civicparticipation, and personal and professional ethics).</p><p>Reflection Activities</p><p>There are many activities that have been suggested for assisting studentsto reflect on what they are learning, including small- and large-group dis-cussions, directed readings, analytic papers, and journaling. To date, noone reflective form appears to be superior in the literature. Rather, eachapproach has its benefits and drawbacks. It would make sense, therefore,that faculty consider selecting a reflection format that is compatible withtheir teaching approach. For instance, Karasik (2005b) offered the examplewhereby an in-class large-group reflection discussion forced the faculty tobe flexible with the days scheduled content to capitalize on the elusiveteachable moment. In this case, a service-learning students concern aboutreceiving cookies from her elderly community partner required a shift to anunplanned but essential discussion about reciprocity and ethics. Reflectivediscussions of this kind can be highly effective but can also play havoc withclass schedules. In addition to scheduling sufficient time for such discussions,care must be taken to be sure everyone is included in this dynamic process ofreflection.</p><p>Written journals (Bringle &amp; Hatcher, 1999; Hatcher &amp; Bringle, 1997) canprovide students with more time and privacy for reflecting, but the immedi-acy of the moment may be lost and the potential for any shared learning thatcomes from discussion may or may not be possible. Additionally, some fac-ulty may find the weight of paper journals literally to be burdensome. Oneway to capture the essences of discussion and journaling is proposed by Mills(2001) who described the use of interactive, web-based journals using the</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nat</p><p>iona</p><p>l Pin</p><p>gtun</p><p>g U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Scie</p><p>nce </p><p>and </p><p>Tec</p><p>hnol</p><p>ogy]</p><p> at 2</p><p>3:05</p><p> 21 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Reflecting on Reflection 81</p><p>discussion function on Blackboard (a feature also available on similar coursemanagement systems such as Desire 2 Learn). This paperless approach hasits advantages, providing one has the available technological capabilities.</p><p>Regardless of the activity format, the most important and challengingaspect of reflection is to help students achieve depth in their critical analysisof their service experiences (Eyler, 2002; Eyler &amp; Giles, 1999; Hume, 2009).Although few would disagree with this as a goal, Welch (2010) raised thedilemma he called the shadow-side of reflection, where students and pos-sibly faculty may not be emotionally, developmentally or culturally preparedfor some of the challenges that shook their assumptions and perceptionsabout themselves and the world around them (p. 2). Welch suggested that itis important to guide students on their reflective journey by forewarning stu-dents of the possibility of the emotional challenges they might face, as wellas providing prereflection activities that help students anticipate possibleemotional as well as educational outcomes of their service experiences.</p><p>Intergenerational Service-Learning Reflection</p><p>In the broad range of service-learning literature, there are several excellentresources that provide guidance on designing and implementing service-learning reflection (Ash &amp; Clayton, 2004; Eyler, 2002; Eyler &amp; Giles, 1999).The gerontological literature similarly provides several good examples ofreflective practice, including McCrea, Weissman, Stepp, and Cihas (2004)compendium stemming from the Generations Together IntergenerationalService-learning grant project supported by the Corporation for National andCommunity Service. This fourth volume of the compendium offers eight arti-cles that outline various aspects of reflective practice for intergenerationalservice-learning. Cohen (2004), for example, highlights the personal natureof reflection, noting that reflective practice is the recognition that peopleenter every situation with assumptions and prior experiences . . . [which]influence who they are and what they believe (p. 21). Faculty must notassume they know what students are taking with them into the service expe-rience, nor should they assume that students are knowledgeable about whatcritical reflection is or how it is done. To that end, Stogner (2004) suggestedthat faculty conduct lectures on critical thinking prior to students engagingin their service experiences. Similarly, Viggiana (2004) focused on ways toprepare students with pre-service reflection and provides readers with areflection assignment format and a template for how faculty might reviewreflective journal entries. Wong (2004) also provided examples of reflectionactivities to be conducted prior to, during, and following students serviceexperiences. Additional topics in the compendium include ideas for vir-tual (Brown, 2004) and distance-learning reflection assignments (Singleton,Bodle, &amp; Gilliland, 2004) as well as using reflection outcomes for assessment(Ballard &amp; Lamson, 2004; Breytsprakk, 2004).</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nat</p><p>iona</p><p>l Pin</p><p>gtun</p><p>g U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Scie</p><p>nce </p><p>and </p><p>Tec</p><p>hnol</p><p>ogy]</p><p> at 2</p><p>3:05</p><p> 21 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>82 R. J. Karasik</p><p>Others who have illustrated the importance and practice of intergenera-tional service-learning reflection include Lambert-Shute, Jarrott, and Fruhauf(2004) who conducted student focus groups to understand how studentsexperienced not only their service-learning but also the effect an expandedorientation and training program had on helping them to become more com-fortable doing service-learning with persons with dementia. Finally, Cohen,Hatchett, and Eastridge (2006), who illustrated how various reflective practiceassignments were paired with five different intergenerational service-learningprojects, brought home the point that reflection, like the service itself, cantake many different forms.</p><p>Although clearly the practice of reflection is an essential component ofeffective service-learning, Eyler (2002) expressed the nagging concern thatthere is reason to believe that reflection gets rather short shrift in typicalservice-learning experiences (p. 518). Thus, in spite of...</p></li></ul>