Essay on Haiti: Regulatory Focus Theory and Social Proof

Submitted By schmi505
Words: 1609
Pages: 7

Kylie Schmidt
Service Learning Reflection
November 29th, 2011

As a college freshman, I had a lot to learn my first semester as a Spartan. My new way of living, along with all the new experiences and new people, had me thinking and seeing things with an entirely different perspective. Since I have been here I have taken part in extra activities, many of which have had to do with helping others when they’re in need. I have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, hosted bingo night at the local assisted living home and donated blood at the drives around campus. My service learning experience however, I believe, has been the most beneficial for me and for the children I have been helping. For the past ten weeks I have been volunteering at Bingham Elementary in downtown Lansing. I have been fortunate enough to work in both a classroom setting and in the tutoring program they have at the school. The two experiences have shown me different aspects of the children’s lives, the classroom being more social and the tutoring being more educational. In the classroom I was given the opportunity to get to know many of the children I was working with. I helped them with projects, listened to their stories and talked with them about family, friends, and their experiences at school. They looked up to the MSU students and were overjoyed to have someone, such as myself, to confide in. Being there for them, even just to talk was heartwarming and fulfilling. Tutoring however, was more about the education and potential that the kids at Bingham have. The days I tutored I helped kids (generally older ones) with classwork, studying and reading. While most of them were at an appropriate level for their age, some students had a lot of trouble with the work they were given. In these cases, I felt most often that they weren’t putting in the effort needed. Some were stubborn and wouldn’t do the work and others just believed it to be unimportant. That’s where I believe the volunteers for service learning made the most impact. We were influential in the way that we provided the message that with hard work and perseverance you can reach your goals, which for many of the students at Bingham, was to go to MSU. Our purpose was to persuade the kids that they can do whatever they set their mind to, regardless of the situation they are currently in. Bingham Elementary is in a part of Lansing that is less fortunate and many of the kids that go there aren’t very privileged. To them a goal such as attending MSU seems way out of their reach. Persuading them that they determine their own future was very important to us. Persuasion is most easily accomplished when the circumstances are short term, direct and behavioral. Our volunteer work was condensed into ten weeks, our message was upfront and we portrayed this message with our mannerisms and interactions. The different techniques of persuasion were vital to the mission of helping the children at Bingham. Reciprocation, commitment, consistency, social proof, liking, increased familiarity, authority, and scarcity all played an important role. Which is why I believe that the impact of our service at the school was great and our message came across strong. I saw great improvement in the children I worked with, and I strongly believe that even once I’m gone the students will continue to be hardworking and positive in all their endeavors, even if State isn’t in their future. Reciprocation was one of the most useful techniques when working with the kids. When asking a student to read me a few pages out of their book, they found it too difficult and respectfully declined. I then decided to ask my mentees to read me their entire book. When they refused that request, like I knew they would, I then told them that a few pages would be fine and then the request of reading to me a few pages out of their book was no longer to big a task to handle. Perceptual contrast was also a very useful tactic when dealing with