Experiential Education

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

-- Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

 

What is Experiential Education?

Experiential education is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities.

 

As it is commonly said, “Learning by doing!”, experiential learning is a method of educating learners to understanding what they did, thought and felt during the experience that engages learners to develop their personal skills in creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making through reflection and the application of the successes or new skills to the future.

“Challenge and Experience followed by Reflection leading to Learning and Growth.”

-- Association for Experiential Education

Kolb's Learning Style

The Experiential Learning Model (Kolb)

Source: https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html

“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.”

-- David Kolb

 

According to Kolb (1974, 1976, 1984), effective learning is when a person progresses through a cycle of four stages:

  1. Concrete Experience (feeling)
    • Engaging directly in an authentic or new situation or a reinterpretation of an existing experience. This is followed by:
  2. Reflective Observation (watching)
    • Of the new experience, noticing what happened and relating to past experience and conceptual understandings, in particular noting any inconsistencies between the experience and understanding. This is followed by:
  3. Abstract Conceptualization (thinking)
    • A reflection stage which is about distilling perceptions and formation of abstract concepts, with analysis and generalizations taking place, giving rise to a new idea, or a modification of an existing abstract concept. This is followed by:
  4. Active Experimentation (doing)
    • The learner applies them to the world around them to see what results, eg. testing new hypotheses and ideas, honing skills in a new experience, etc.

 

Sources:

https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html

https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/teaching/strategies/overview/experiential-learning

 

Experiential Education at Han Academy

“Experience plus reflection equals learning.”

-- John Dewey

 

At Han Academy, we subscribe to Kolb’s model of effective learning through experiences. We therefore aim to design learning experiences that contain the following elements:

  1. Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis
  2. Opportunities to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
  3. Opportunities to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically
  4. A learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes

 

We believe that by engaging in formal, guided, authentic, real-world experiences, our students:

  • deepen their knowledge through repeatedly acting and then reflecting on this action
  • develop skills through practice and reflection
  • support the construction of new understandings when placed in novel situations
  • extend their learning as they bring their learning back to the classroom

 

Sources:

http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/ExperientialLearning/about/Pages/WhatisExperientialLearning.aspx

https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/teaching/strategies/overview/experiential-learning

 

At Han Academy, we offer students opportunities for personal growth and talent development to ensure the development of well-rounded individuals through all 13 years of student-life at our school.

 

Our younger students are exposed to a variety of activities to help identify their interests and talents, develop knowledge, skills and attitudes in the Primary school. While senior students learn to focus on one or two interests and skills as they continue to develop their passion in those areas with the aim of achieving excellence outside the classroom and make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and to the real world.

 

Teachers are the main individuals in-charged of the experiential program groups as facilitators and are assisted by external specialists who are recruited to run some of the courses. Being the group facilitators who participate actively in students' non-academic activities as mentors, as adults who share their expertise and experiences with students who have the same interests, also serves to create and strengthen the emotional and professional bond between teachers and students.

 

This allows students to view their teachers in a different light than just an adult standing in class, but also allow them the opportunity to know them as individuals who also have passion, interests, skills and knowledge in life. Likewise, this would give teachers the chance to know the likes, fears, ability to handle difficult situations, leadership, teamwork and other abilities of their students, allowing them to see that they too are individuals growing up special phase in their lives.

Our guiding principles are:

  • To motivate students to learn, create, and act upon personal initiatives
  • To provide opportunities for language development, cultural awareness and exchange, communication, and diversity
  • To build students' respect for other people and cultures, and of nature
  • To equip students with the opportunity and ability to observe, reflect and act on their experiences
  • To provide students with the opportunity to apply their past experiences in new situations
  • To provide opportunities to practice democratic leadership and harmonious teamwork

 

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

-- Xunzi, Confucianism