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Shedding Light on the Shadow-Side of Reflection in Service-Learning

Marshall Welch, Saint Mary's College of California


Developmental and cultural factors may inadvertently play a contributing role in the discomfort that occurs during service-learning experiences. Ironically, reflection exercises may actually exacerbate the emotional and cognitive dissonance that occurs in these experiences. Both students and faculty require an understanding of what it means to “squirm and learn” in these circumstances as well as reflection strategies that allow students to process what is characterized as the “shadow-side” of reflection. This essay recounts one professor’s own experiences with this challenge and provides insight into the developmental and cultural aspects of the shadow-side of reflection concluding with a description of reflection strategies for consideration.

Suggested Citation

Marshall Welch. "Shedding Light on the Shadow-Side of Reflection in Service-Learning" Journal of College and Character 11.3 (2010).

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