“One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it-you have no certainty, until you try.” Sophocles
The past week was a busy one in Secondary with no less than four trips organised for our students. As our Facebook posts showed, the Year 7 students deepened their knowledge of the Chinese terracotta warriors at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, and the Year 8s explored the local fauna and flora at Purple Island in Al Khor. All the Key Stage 3 students were offered the opportunity to watch the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in Doha and investigate further what music is all about. Academic learning can take a variety of shapes and, although often restricted to the four walls of a classroom, can flourish outside of these traditional limits. At NAISAK, our teachers are always looking for new prospects to take the students away from usual lessons and closer to their own learning process. Experiential learning is an ancient concept: Aristotle wrote about it around 350 BCE. However, it is only in the 70s that the educational field formally conceptualised it. Experiential learning does not impose taking the learners outside of the classroom though, but exposing them to situations where they learn through doing and/or experiencing. Our eagerly awaited Science Fair on Wednesday 25 January is a good illustration of it.
What is vital in experiential learning is that the individual is encouraged to directly involve themselves in the experience, and then to reflect on their experiences using analytic skills, in order to gain a better understanding of the new knowledge and retain the information for a longer time.
Please immerse yourselves in the incisive comments written by our Secondary experiential learners of the week:
‘We learned the history and how to make a terracotta warrior. It was great! We used water to stick all our parts together. The red clay was really hard at first but when we pressed it to warm it, the texture became soft and we could mould it.’ - Shakeel Ahamed 7A
‘I learned a lot about their age and why they were built. We were taught to make our own warriors with red air-dying clay and now I can invent lots of things with the clay!’ - Kumkum Parmar 7A
‘I had fun learning outside of school! We learned how to make our own warriors and it inspired me to make my own models at home, and explore more shapes. It is lovely to learn while having fun!’ - Vivek Gadhia 7A
‘We built them like you actually would, all body parts separately. We built the torso, the dress, the armour first, then the arms and the shoes, finally we added details such as the moustache and his face expressions. The experience was totally memorable!’ - Cinta Nijland 7N
‘I hope we go to some more places to refresh our minds and learn more! This was the best Humanities lesson ever!’ - Shonchari Subha 7N