We all remember our younger selves back in the day – prancing home after school, having a quick snack, running off to play, coming back to finish homework and calling it a day. Our memories are seeped in our daily experiences, games we played and friends we met. However, we do not really remember much of what happened within the classroom when it comes to learning & assimilation. Thus the need to Learn Beyond The Classroom.
Today, while the models of learning have become hybrid when it comes to the medium of imparting the knowledge; the debate on making the learning deep and complete is still open.
A recent publication, the New Way to Learn, calls out the pitfalls of the traditional way of learning. The deep-rooted style being rote learning with compartmentalized education that is often linear and forced.
In simple words, children are either learning History or Maths or English with limited connection amongst each. They remember times and dates and formulae but have limited relevance or usage. For example, they may be learning time and distance in Maths and learning about a battlefield with an army’s advent in History but will not be able to link the two!
Instead of focusing on cramming for an exam, how can we move beyond and ensure learning for success – be it academic or professional? Can children be naturally prepared to tackle entrance exams or professional aptitude tests? The answer lies in encouraging a wider range of education beyond academics.
Three quick ways to learn beyond the classroom would be:
Explore & Apply vs Follow Instruction
Children should be encouraged to experience new puzzles, games or even simple goal-based activities with no instructions. Do not instruct them on process or steps to follow; instead let them find their own solution without judgement. The activities could range from treasure hunts to online puzzles. We all learn best through experience!
Connect the Dots
Children are extremely smart and curious by nature. We should give them the opportunity to imbibe real world skills alongside academic learning. For example, use pizza to calculate ratios or plan a trip including your child – where you make a budget, decide flight timings, apply geography for weather etc. Simulated environment with specific linking of concepts can enable deep learning.
Let Children Make Mistakes
School and formal education is structured to reward specific ‘ideal’ responses and reprimand on any deviation. It often does not allow for trying new ways of doing or thinking differently. We need to provide a low judgement environment to think, to try, to fail. This can be enabled through in-person games (remember Pictionary?) with friends or/ and individual puzzles that aid conceptual learning & reinforcement.
In the 21s century, knowledge is available widely on the internet. It is the application of knowledge that is the key differentiator for success in the real world. This fact alone makes a strong case for true learning beyond the classroom!
“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.”
– Herbert Spencer