How To Fight 'Educational Numbness' With Experiential Learning

  • 27th Dec'21
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The English language arts (ELA) teacher, Lorena German, says that experiential learning in ELA classrooms can create more opportunities for students to learn. As it helps students to apply their senses and reduces the passivity prevailing in other professional development classrooms. German says that “The textured teaching says that you are a human being who has feelings, who is sensitive, and I want you to bring that here”.


Educational numbness with experiential learning


Find Moments In Books For Experiential Activities

The students who belong to teenagers need more stimulation to understand and then apply every information. She says, “I want [students] to sit down and read this book, and it moves you so much that you might cry. Also, she believes that triggering emotions and optimizing teaching aids can create better learning opportunities. 

Moreover, she incorporates learning by engaging all the five senses to avoid educational numbness. These five senses include touch, hear, smell, see and even taste. This way of learning is applicable to the subject they’re learning at that time.

To practice experiential learning activities throughout the whole of academics. German identifies moments in textbooks to engage the students to understand and learn six basic concepts:

  • Characterization: How did the writer create such characters?

  • Theme: What are the central ideas explored by the writer?

  • Setting: How are the sequences related, and how can it influence the characters?

  • Ground: What is the arc of the story?

  • Social justice: What are the things explored by the writer related to race and inclusiveness?

  • Text-to-self connections: What are the experiences that are unfamiliar but relevant to the present?

All these basic concepts can help students to understand every part of the book. The concept is nothing goes unnoticed by learners here. 


How Experiential Learning Helped Student?

However, all these basic concepts help students to learn and understand the unnoticed things in books. For example, while German was teaching the famous story, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' with students. She took the group of students to the Colorado River to show the experiences of characters while escaping the Mississippi River.

In this method of teaching, German was able to understand that students had great experiences as they can understand how Jim’s character was portrayed in the story. The experiential learning helped students to touch, ground, and feel the cold water physically. 

Some teachers are familiar with this type of experiential learning and know their limits. While others turn this whole situation wrong due to the complications in it. However, German is very serious about these dangerous simulations and ensure that they don't negatively influence students. 

This negative stimulation can create oppressive structures and expose the marginalized for students. Whereas in history, the marginalized are harmed due to the consequences of stereotypes.

Instead, German asked people to avoid such terrible stimulation, which could be a war crime or slavery. For example, German was teaching “The Night” by Elie Wiesel on the Holocaust. While teaching, her students weren’t able to picture railroad cars used by Jews to reach concentration camps. So, she showed photos of cars to her students and helped them to understand it. 

She even measured the dimensions of weather and vehicles to create a structure. This reel structure helped students understand the moments even better without any damage. All the physical representations used by German to educate her students are very creative. It strengthened her teaching and also helped students to understand every concept better. 


Misconceptions In Experiential Learning 

In experiential learning, when teachers make mistakes, it can affect the whole concept. To avoid such confusion, German asks teachers to analyze technologies used in education more clearly. This will help them find what went wrong and acknowledge it correctly. However, acknowledging your own mistakes is beneficial for all teaching methods. 

The best way to deal with incorrect information or misconceptions is to discuss it with students directly. Teachers can sit down to clarify the concepts with their students. This helps students to better understand as well as get the differences effectively.


Experiential learning classroom


Invite People To Your Class

Another way of experiential teaching is inviting someone to talk with the students in the classroom as it can help teachers to communicate better with their students. This will create a holistic understanding of the subjects in the classroom. 

For example, English classrooms mostly involve reading and writing tasks. So, it’s a great opportunity for students and teachers to make it interactive.

German encourages teachers to invite community members who could speak the English language primarily in the classroom. By doing it, students will get an opportunity to learn certain identities better. 

This technique will also prepare students to interact with the visitor and learn how to ask questions properly. Beyond learning the contents, German says it’s important to understand how to ask questions. So, the impacts of this culture can influence the students to communicate with others.

To conclude, it’s essential to include experiential activities in every classroom. It gives students three options, including being independent, communicating with a partner, or with the whole class. She also added that sometimes debriefing could work differently in the classroom. German believes experiential learning can promote more awareness for students and stands by it. 


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About the author:

Sajitha , OpenGrowth Content Team

Sajitha is a content writer who predominantly writes for EdTech Industry and also pens poetry, eBooks, and fascinating content. She believes writing should intrigue her audience and work with passion. She is an avid reader and holds her master's in literature. Her hobbies include traveling, music, and self-publishing!

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