01 Sep 2018

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

Do you have an idea of some of the sources from which students learn? Does education take place outside of such formal settings? Can curricula be found beyond that of the normal course of study?

On a honest note, students are virtually suffocated with ideas when they leave the confines of the school building. For many their education has just begun when the last bell rings each day, in fact, many students use whatever mental energy they have to learn only those things that interest them outside of school.

Education has become a concern bordering on an obsession in most of the industralized world. Its centrality to competitiveness, social inclusion and wellbeing are now widely recognized.

It’s important to realize that students are constantly being educated, whether they are aware of it or not. Education does not just apply to some type of formal education; it is very much a part of daily life. The Christian student who is attempting to think God’s thoughts after Him is profoundly aware of this. He lives in a world of ideas, and ideas have consequences. Those ideas are so much a part of life that it’s as if they’re a portion of the air we breathe. Students should be conscious of this, but the same is true for all of us. All of us are students.

In the internet age, the classroom is no longer a student’s primary source of interaction so far as, although the starting point but with communication outside of the classroom increasingly easy, the learner can receive input from a wide range of sources beyond what the teacher gives them: for instance, reading articles, chatting on social media and watching English speaking films, especially field trips, which provides valuable insights into basic learning beyond the classroom.

Teaching and learning can become inherently spontaneous and students are focused when moved from the confines of the classroom into the world at large. From the collaborative learning atmosphere that results from the unique relationships developed outside the classroom, to the deep learning that occurs when students must put into practice “in the real world” what they have theorized about from behind a desk, field experiences are unmatched in their learning potential.  Field experiences early in a student’s career can be formative and can inspire students to continue in a field.

Learning involves the whole person, not just the rational mind; it involves the senses, the desires, the longings, the feelings, and the motivations as well. The difficult thing with people is to turn them on to learning, once they are motivated, once they are ready to start, the major obstacle is over. How to present information is secondary because the learner will go out and find the information no matter how difficult it is to get it, inculcate ways to keep children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder alive and to overcome the barriers to effective teaching such as allowing children time to learn to wonder as well as to generate and ponder self-perpetuating questions.

Here are ways to make learning extend outside the classroom via;

  • Field Trips
  • Service Learning and Community Engagement
  • Study Abroad
  • Technology Outside the Classroom
  • Peripatetic Pedagogy
  • Place-Based Learning
  • Assessment of Field Experiences
  • Resources for research on Experiential Learning

Students must be engaged by the learning task and actively involved in enjoyable stimulating learning tasks to sustain the motivation needed to understand and assimilate new information.

Today’s students have more access to information and resources beyond the classroom than any prior generation. They can jump online and watch a video tutorial to learn how to do something that interests them, explore the globe with Google Earth, build, and create in the comfort of their homes. Although, self-directed learning is also in many ways more powerful for kids because they decide how they will learn, what they will learn, and when they will learn.

Listening logs use real events and interactions to improve listening ability, they are an ongoing assignment through which students document their participation in out-of-class activities and reflect on how such participation helped them improve their listening abilities.

Online spoken and written materials are a great source for learners; allowing learners to listen before or after reading transcripts. Social media can also be successfully used to develop the skills needed to read authentic texts. Students communicate via voice recordings, collaborating on projects like video documentaries, or topical public service announcement videos.

Television can be a learning tool- using dead time whilst travelling to watch TV programmes. These sources and approaches are useful because they introduce learners to different styles of spoken and written discourse, and encourage the use of technology in ways that reflect their out of class learning. Although, activities vary in location, modality, learning aims, who is in control, type of interaction, logistics and demands.

Articles by Blessing Bassey

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