The Narrative Approach in Service-Learning Methodology: A Case Study

Laura Selmo


The U.S. National and Community Service Act (1990) defines service-learning as “a methodology that extends classroom learning into real-life situations through participation in service experiences organized by collaborating schools and communities.” Reflection represents a very important phase in this methodology; indeed, students build the meaning of their experiences through reflection. For this reason, teachers, instructors, and professors need effective methods for improving student reflection. Can the narrative approach help students to reflect on service experiences? This article presents part of a research project on how the use of the narrative approach in the reflection phase of service-learning can improve critical thinking in students. In particular, it describes a case study of the Freshmen Honors Symposium and service-learning experience at a U.S. university and presents a qualitative analysis of 40 student narratives.


reflection, narrative approach, critical thinking, service-learning

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