Principals on Board

Emerging Educational Trends: Experiential Learning

Dr. Sunita Vashistha
Emerging Educational Trends: Experiential Learning

Vagrant vegetation punctuated with Gurukuls, learning inspired by the stalwarts of prudence and erudition; wit that has belied all darkness and dispelled doubts and indecision; times, undoubtedly, have changed and so are the needs but, what has persisted is to cater to the best to the posterity.

In more modern times when Gurukuls are remote possibilities to go back to, with plush and well-equipped seats of scholastic excellence coming up, it is essential to distill and not dilute. The essence of such ancient seats of learning should have hands-on activities as its nucleus.

Tagore's Shantiniketan is a modern-day Gurukul and here if not in form but in spirit Gurudev as a mentor had endeavored to sculpt the best by encouraging the idea of a project which is an amalgamation of collective ideas with each one contributing in one's own way uniquely, while promoting camaraderie.

The scholars were asked to offer a cue, a thought nurtured by life experience which later nourished them to one of their kind. Rabindranath tempered them into thinking individuals who might not be academically prodigy but knew the art of contributing socially while being self-reliant.

He was strictly against rote learning. What better examples of Experiential Learning could it be that this policy venerated by Tagore has created Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen, Oscar Recipient and the doyen of Indian Cinema Mr. Satyajit Ray and the composer of the national anthem of Sri Lanka Shri Ananda Samarakoon to name a few. Albert Einstein too believed in creating individuals who can think, judge, and act independently while remaining socially relevant and hence emphasized Experiential learning.

NEP, 2020 encapsulates the spirited thoughts of all acclaimed philosophers, educationists, and policymakers who have insisted repeatedly that every bud is unique with its own appeal. Hence it is no comparison but in rhythm with the true Indian spirit where the unity nestles all diversities like a rainbow that learning should survive.

While the revamped educational policy has already started pealing the bells of high expectations, there are a plethora of nuances to be experimented on, with one being Flip Teaching. In this role reversal, students explore their knack for teaching which is a true augmentation of learning a topic before delivering in the presence of peers. Being an educator ups the performance thirst and bolsters confidence to unfold oneself in his or her own way while expressing pre-taught perceptional concepts with a new dimension. Nothing excites a student more than being engaged on a platform with the liberty to share and facilitate learning what he had once lapped up with his or her present audience.

Project-based learning would tap the innate or intrinsic beauties of a child, sharpen his skill befitting the 21st century, impart the real joy of learning together and bring him out of the predictable lines of contemplation. The outside world while entering the stereotypical classrooms where only scores matter, would propel a pupil to think out of the box, as the kid would understand the worth of interdisciplinary studies, being able to draw inferences from real life and the innovation and creative buzz would be robustly ringing in the corridors of a new young India.

It may sound clichéd but, is not it a stark truth that we as grown-ups remember when we do it? So it goes for a child too. From toddlers to adolescents, Flip teaching is an ideal way to learn by doing as it formulates a special equation and bonding between the pupils as when a child teaches a topic, he or she explains it in their own way and in their own vocabulary.

 

They communicate the topics not along the stapled path. There is not an iota of doubt that a child-educator can defenestrate the doubts and inhibitions which otherwise are challenging to meet with many a time for even a seasoned teacher. The comfort level can well do away with the hesitance to ask in fear of embarrassment or being adjudged. Just like the phone a friend in a popular Game Show here a child connects not only with the topic but is also able to grip and grasp the concept that he or she believes has been lucidly explained and hence, well understood by him or her.

The ease of sharing areas of doubt with someone of the same age inspires better teaching-learning. It peps up the eagerness to prepare the topic to be deliberated just as a public speaker or an orator would and in due process multiply the degree of understanding as it is when things would be clearly understood that they would be suitably deliberated. Flip Teaching is the heart-to-heart talk of a child to classmates. The role of being on and off the platform if not for all concepts at least for the arguably intricate ones would be greatly rewarding.

Feeling, and envisioning are much evolved as techniques for embracing ideas. When exposed to a persistent mode of theory learning a student may fumble and falter even the promptest ones as it is when a model is there as a real-life existence that a child absorbs effectively. The NEP would be a major learning indicator in this regard as from now onwards a child can from a wide range of new-age subjects pick and pursue. It is a blatant bitter truth that many professionals would become jobless as their job profiles would become obsolete since they had trained themselves in traditional subjects which had trained them as per the contemporary need and not for the requirement of times ahead. The Vocational Subjects, practical, hands-on experience-based subjects being part of the NEP bouquet is a bold step towards Experiential Learning as the student would be future-ready hence in tandem with futuristic essentialities. A pupil would not only accentuate his employability but slash the apprehension of abruptly becoming redundant, impertinent, and even a Cypher.

The greatest merit of Experiential Learning is that it is a big boost to the concept based and not crams learning. Einstein in his famous speech on the completion of 300 years of Higher Education in America had opined on how Education is that which remains even after we have left School. Einstein's theory of Education had no place for facts and figures but for a reason, logic, and gripping the essence through real-life performance. A specialized person trained in theoretical aspects sans practical exposure can neither serve the society of which he is an integral part nor himself. It is high time that as Second Home or home away from home where the kids are spending a lion's share of their daily time, need to go all out for the successful implementation of the same in spirit and letter. A child learning from ‘work your way’ is unquestionably far more equipped than those who indulged in learning by rote sidelining the efforts to earn experience of doing in real circumstances.

With growing tension piling into the social fabric it becomes all the more vital that students should share to sharpen their knowledge and get inspired by the idea that it is together they can grow better. The universal job market is emphasizing practical knowledge more than theoretical and so it should be the elementary obligation of Schools to insist on activity-based learning. As institutions of scholastic splendor, it should be imperative to ensure that students while learning even languages should have exposure to the practical application. Mere preparation to score marks would not facilitate in the long run so to stay longer in the run for excellence the millennial need to be imparted knowledge that can yield results in personal and social arenas. Experiential Education would not only redefine the existing orthodox approach to education where the crux is a marks enriched report card but now it would be the practical way forward to a star-studded larger report card of life.

Education needs and has to evolve and revamp in perfect tandem with changing times. The learning gap, loss of teaching days in many parts of the land, and unstable virtual community connectivity have been responsible for an irreparable loss for a large section of the student community during the pandemic. Hence, it becomes all the more important to innovate, and design activities that would engrain the notions of the different subjects so that the road ahead becomes less bumpy if not an absolute smooth sail.

In the post-pandemic scenario, it has become a compulsive necessity to resort to ways and means where the foundation can be curated to a robust offing.

Flip Teaching is a novel technique that is gradually picking up with the academicians as the output has turned out to be rewarding and synergic. The invisible girdle that encircles a child during the set Classroom Teaching can be smoothly done away with Flip Teaching. With a pinch of salt, the concerned educator too gets to realize what more needs to be done with his or her imparting of lessons. So it is also a lesson to be grasped by the teacher while the tables are turned and the student steps into the shoes of the teacher. Can as a stakeholder of the World of Academics one afford to overlook the fact that teachers' expressions used are at times unpalatable for the kid which when explained by a co scholar would be simple but certainly undiluted.

It is difficult to be simple and it happens with adults that they fail to comprehend the perception and exposure of a child and Flip Teaching in such cases can be a major relief.

Experiential Learning has been in vogue for a long in the West and in a few pockets of the East but now it is high time to pull up socks and take the big plunge for it is now or never.

The pastures of Education need to be evergreen, sprinkled with the blooms and blossoms of the best ways to reach out to the tender, impressionable minds and it is the sanctimonious obligation of every Educator to live up to the expectations and dynamic demands of fleeting time.

About the author:

Dr. Sunita Vashistha is the Principal of Maheshwari Girls Public School, Jaipur. She's a visionary school leader having 27 years of experience in Teaching and Education Administration. She has been twice Felicitated by the Ministry of HRD (now Education) for outstanding CBSE Results.

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