Tips for Leading Reflective Discussions
A windshield survey encourages reflection after students' first visit to their volunteer site. The survey questions will help them become sensitive to their own thoughts and feelings as well as those that they meet in their new situation.
This tool can be helpful for students anytime they enter any community different from their own, not just when they first go to a new volunteer site.
Subjective data is collected through your personal observations about people and their lifestyles and the environment in which they live in the community. In this survey, you should use you five senses while visiting the agency and its vicinity.
What did you see when you arrived?
- Are there natural or artificial boundaries surrounding the agency?
- What are the boundaries?
- What is the style of housing nearby?
- What is observable in regard to the environment?
- Is everything in good repair?
- What surrounds the agency?
- What transportation is available?
- Are there stores, pharmacies, schools, or churches nearby?
- What recreational facilities are available?
- What do you see on the streets around the agency?
- Are there people nearby?
- Are they children, teens, or older adults?
- How are they dressed?
- Are there particular ethnic groups present?
- Are there any animals around?
- Is there any evidence of politics?
- What can you hear when you come to the agency and are in the agency?
- Is the area quiet?
- Are there any loud noises?
- Do you hear children playing?
- What kinds of foods are available?
- Are there any places to eat near the agency?
- How does the agency smell?
- Are the odors pleasant?
- Describe what you smelled.
- Do residents, and others seem friendly?
- Do you feel comfortable?
- Are people willing to say hello?
- Do they ignore you?
- Describe how you felt.
Adapted from Logan et al. Gauthier, Kelley, and Matteson. "Introduction to the Community Through Sensory Information." Expanding Boundaries: Serving and Learning. Corporation for National Service. 1996. pp 58-61.
More Reflection Ideas
Here are some questions that may be helpful in fueling the reflection process for you in the times following your first site visit:
- What was the most enjoyable aspect of the experience? Why?
- What was the most frustrating? Why?
- What surprised you? Why do you think it caught you off guard?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What did you learn about larger issues facing our town? Our county? Our nation? Our world?
- Why do you think things are the way they are? (Poverty, racism, sexism, etc.)
- How would you like to combat these issues?
- How did the experience change the way you view yourself, others, and critical issues?
(Adapted from Campus Outreach Opportunity League)
Two other basic reflection techniques are:
- What do you know?
- What do you want to know?
- What have you learned?
- What can you do now?
- From National Service-Learning Exchange
(What actually happened during your experience?)
(What was the significance?)
(What do you do now?)
From Campus Outreach Opportunity League