Facts about Experiential Education

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In Academic

A top-notch education is key to your child succeeding in life. But what kind of education is the right kind of education? While there are plenty of boarding schools boasting a superior teaching style and high test scores, they may not be the best fit for your child. In order to succeed, your child needs to learn more than just what’s taught in books. Mathematics, history, and English are important, of course, but it’s also important that they understand how to apply the things they learn to better handle real world situations. Experiential learning boarding schools combine the best of both worlds.

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What Is Experiential Learning?

Experiential education is a style of learning that was first introduced by John Dewey in 1938. Dewey suggested that in order for an individual to retain information and utilize it properly, experiences needed to be the center of education. Dewey’s philosophy defies traditional authoritarian classrooms and emphasizes a more personalized approach to teaching. In fact, Dewey hypothesized that education often focused too much on the delivery of knowledge and not enough on understanding the way students were experiencing the information presented, causing them to lose interest quickly.

Much has changed since John Dewey first presented his thoughts on experiential education. Many schools and extra-curricular activities have since adapted his theories as a way to better connect with students and offer a quality education. Instead of relying solely on textbooks or traditional education methods, many instructors now rely on experiences to solidify and provide context for certain subjects. By doing this, students develop real-life skills and increase their knowledge.

Curriculum

If you choose to enroll your child in an experiential learning boarding school, the curriculum will vary from that found in a traditional boarding school. Far less time will be spent indoors studying. After introducing certain material, an experience is then used to allow your child to interact with the lesson previously learned. Your child’s institution may utilize different types of experiential learning to encourage reflection and action. From ropes courses to community service, there are many different types of experiential curriculum.

For example, outdoor education encourages exploration. You can expect your child to get outside and experience different environments. They may visit different places so as to better understand eco-systems. Perhaps they’ll get up close and personal with different rock types and formations through rock climbing. In short, your child will be learning the same things that their text books teach, but in a more hands-on, experience-based way.

Unlike traditional education, your child won’t be held to a standard set by the government or the state. Instead, experiential education encourages progression and self-motivation. At an experiential boarding school, your child will receive more one-on-one attention. The experiential teaching method encourages them to seek out their own learning style and push themselves to reach their potential. Instead of comparing themselves to their peers, students are more confident in their own abilities. Experiential learning is designed to create this sort of “love of learning” mentality among students. Your child will stop asking things like, “Why do I have to learn this?” and begin asking questions like, “When can I learn more?”

What to Expect

When choosing an experiential boarding school, your child’s class size will be significantly smaller than a traditional public school. This allows for more individualized attention. Information and knowledge will be presented to students both inside and outside of the classroom. No matter where the learning takes place, your child will be taught in a way that fosters questions, investigation, and accountability. An experience will also be used in conjunction with the knowledge presented. These experiences allow students to apply the things that they’ve learned. Experiences are chosen carefully as to ensure reflection and allow for analysis.

Along with reflection and synthesis, experiences provide an excellent opportunity for growth. Your child will learn more about themselves and others throughout their different adventures. They’ll be required to problem solve and work as a team. There will be high points and great failures throughout their many experiences. Uncertainty, risk-taking, and spontaneity are part of the curriculum. The design of this type of experience-based education allows for students to understand how to accept consequences, mistakes, and successes, setting them up for a more fulfilling life.

You can expect your child to keep a journal of some sort. This will chronicle their thoughts and feelings as they internalize the things they learn throughout their experiences. Keeping a journal is essential to remembering and retaining the knowledge and feelings they experience throughout their education. It also allows them to reflect on the problems they overcame when future issues present themselves.

Experiential education boarding schools offer nothing but the best to their students. With a carefully designed curriculum and experiences to match, your child will receive an incredible education that sets them up for life.

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