A child’s learning is paramount in predicting the kind of success he/she will experience in life. While learning a few words, practising the same problems over and over again, and studying wholeheartedly, may guarantee aceing the class, sometimes that’s all it can do. A lot of schools in India teach children how to think vertically or logically. But there is an important aspect of learning that they are missing out on and that’s where the schools like JBCN International Schools excel – horizontal thinking i.e. the ability to think from a different angle and solve problems using a creative approach rather than a logical one. They do this by putting in practice something called experiential learning.
To put it simply, experiential learning is learning by experience. While the concept sounds simple enough, putting it in practice requires thought, planning, and training. Hands-on learning, simulated and real-life situations, role-playing, are all ways to encourage critical reasoning skills and enhance thinking skills, making experiential learning an enriching tool in the classroom. It is critical that the child be an active participant in the learning process to ensure that each child understands the concept taught perfectly. Experiential learning is not always academic; it also helps develop personality, compassion, confidence and other important traits if tailored correctly in the school curriculum.
Classes that use experiential learning as a strategy ensure that every aspect of a child is involved in the learning process including their senses, personality and their emotions. A child taught using experiential learning models has a higher probability of becoming a successful individual in his/her personal and professional lives as opposed to a child taught using the conventional teaching models. It is worth noting that founders, CEO’s, COO’s and other top-level executives of the biggest brands in the world use lateral thinking to solve critical management problems.
Here are a few ways schools like JBCN International are changing the way kids learn in Mumbai with this experiential learning approach:
Blocks and Lego have always been used in the classroom as tools to build imagination and develop concentration but never as a way to introduce language, math and scientific concepts. Facilitators in JBCN International schools encourage children to create patterns, objects and stories using Lego, ensuring that every aspect of a child is engaged in the classroom.
When a concept is introduced in class, a simulated environment is created, encouraging learners to explore. An example at the pre-primary level may be to create something simple like different environmental places to explain the concept of habitat. At the senior school level, it may be more complex such as creating a mock stock exchange to explain the concept of equity investments.
Game and toy manufacturers are creating products that are based more on reality. It is important to bring the appropriate equipment into the classrooms so that the children are learning while having fun. Games like Catan, Taboo, Scattegories, Cranium, Monopoly etc. encourage vocabulary building, teamwork, and strategy among other skills. Role-playing is an important part of experiential learning as well as it enables learners to get into a character.
Whether you are in the kitchen or garden or just playing pretend with your child, each activity offers an opportunity to learn. This fact is incorporated into the classroom learning to make learning more relevant to the learners. For instance, making cupcakes exposes children to math, science, and language; a walk in the park is a science fiesta etc.
Art plays an important role in a child’s life thereby encouraging imagination and creativity. Art can be used to mimic real life or create a completely novel concept. Either way, art involves each learner in the learning process, enabling them to think, imagine and create.
As parents, our first instinct is to correct our children when they are about to make a mistake; but this is actually a disservice to them. It is important to let them make mistakes and then guide them towards the right solution. This enables them to solve problems themselves rather than relying on someone else to always give them the answer. JBCN International schools allow their learners to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes equipping them with the ability to handle failure in the future.
Young children are like sponges - always absorbing the world around them. As a parent or a teacher, it is important to tap into that innate inquisitiveness. Making children an active participant in the learning process ensures that they are experiencing the joy of learning and that the learning will never be forgotten.
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This post is written in association with JBCN International.
JBCN Education is a pioneering institution in the field of education for more than 30 years. They currently have 3 campuses: JBCN International School, Borivali JBCN International School, Oshiwara JBCN International School, Parel.