What are my thoughts on required state standards in education? Or national standards or any standards? I think I get this question as much as I do because of my experiential philosophy. How can a teacher like myself facilitate experiential learning experiences and teach to the state standards in education at the same time?
Experiential learning and reflection go hand-in-hand. Reflection is an important characteristic of experiential learning, so as an educator with an experiential learning classroom philosophy, I make it a point to enhance learning by reflection.
I add a reflection piece to almost every learning experience that my students have, within AND beyond the walls of the classroom. Reflecting on the process, the outcomes, the content, the goals, and the skills-acquired from the experience really drive the learning experience home.
Welcome to the beginning of my experiential learning blog series specifically on examples of experiential learning activities. I have been writing about the topic of experiential learning for over a month and have covered experiential learning importance, how to set up your classroom for experiential learning, and have even offered examples of experiential learning methods.
What I haven't done is offer you specific examples of experiential learning activities at play. For the next few weeks I will be laying out and showing you experiential learning activities in action.
In the world of experiential learning there is a lot of talk about theory and philosophy; about what experiential learning is and what it is not, the benefits of experiential learning, and the purpose of it.
But the most common question that I get from educators is not about experiential learning in theory but about experiential learning in practice.
How do I practice experiential learning with my k12 students? What is an experiential learning activity? What are experiential learning activity types? What approach or experiential learning activity is the best fit for me and my students? How do I facilitate experiential learning in my classroom and beyond?
These are the questions that this blog post is going to get at. This post is all about my favorite experiential learning activities.
Are worksheets good or bad? That is the question.
For those of you that follow my blog closely you have probably formulated a guess as to my answer to this question. I'm going to start by saying that I don't think worksheets are "bad". I believe that they have a place in this world, but in very very very very very small doses. There are ample alternatives to worksheets, and I hope you'll consider them.
Every season is prime time for experiential learning, but fall is one of my favorite times of year for experiential learning activities. Fall is unique in so many ways. The weather begins to change, wildlife prepares for winter, many farmers harvest their crops, seasonal illnesses begin to creep in (not my favorite), kids gear up for winter sports, fall flavors make a brief appearance, and the holiday season comes on strong.
Experiential learning is a fabulous way to personalize learning, and developing personal learning plans is a great way to do that.
Experiential learning is by nature personalized, and part of customizing any learning experience is by letting students take the lead. Student-directed learning gives students voice and choice in what they learn and how they learn it. For students to direct their own learning experiences you (and they) need to have a good idea of who they are and what they need. Students design and develop learning experiences that fit with their academic and personal needs, challenges, strengths, interests, and more.
So how do you approach this? How do you make learning personal? How do you use personal backgrounds, needs, experiences, and interests to develop self-directed learning experiences that are meaningful and effective?
With personal learning plans.
What is experiential learning importance? What are the benefits of experiential learning? Why bother spending the time to learn a new teaching style?
I am often asked how to get colleagues on board with experiential learning. This is an important question. I taught at an experiential school for 10 years. It was tough when there was a staff member or two that didn't agree with or understand the experiential philosophy.
Experiential learning is a profound and life-changing teaching strategy with a laundry list of benefits attached, but working with those that are resistant to the craft can be draining, leaving you with little choice but to keep on teaching in a way that you don't feel is effective for your students or fulfilling to you.
So how can you work with those that are resistant to experiential learning? What can you do? What can you say?
What is experiential learning in the classroom, and what does an experiential learning classroom look like? Experiential learning can take place anywhere, including a classroom, and there are particular ways to make experiential learning in a classroom or homeschool learning environment more conducive than others.
What is experiential learning anyway? How is experiential learning defined? What does K12 classroom experiential learning look like? What are the characteristics of experiential learning? What are examples of experiential learning? What are experiential learning activities? Why is experiential learning important and what are the benefits? I get these questions a lot.
Most of the inquiries that I get from educators, however, are about how experiential learning can be worked into K12 curriculum. The good news is that it's a great learning tool for people of all learning environments, backgrounds, skill levels, and interests, and it's fairly easy to implement if you know the essential components.
Blog Post: Why I Became an Experiential Learning Educator
To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.