Learning by doing

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of April Whitlock April Whitlock 1 year, 4 months ago.

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    OK, so this week’s podcast looks at the work of Jared Diamond. And in particular, the themes of adolescence and learning by doing. I’ve not read Jared’s book (yet) but it seems we have yet more evidence, if any more were needed, that we humans are made to learn by doing and especially in our adolescence. But we designed schooling to pen kids into classrooms with the expectation of being attentive to the teacher, or else! Seems there is a fundamental design fault here.

    Avatar of Richard Corlett
    Richard Corlett

    Can you define ‘doing’? Does that mean hands-on with everything or experiencing and talking. It is possible to learn how to survive by doing but it is not possible to learn how to think without some one to talk to (look at work by R. Fisher on metacognition and Vygotsky ZPD).

    I’ve been working with 6 year olds for 2 years in a, what the UK government would call, a failing school and it is sad to see how little ‘doing’ there actually is. Play is seen as a reward or a time filler not as a learning potential and if you ask them to think for themselves the children just look at you funny. The main activity is always teacher lead. I find it hard to point the finger at the school for this because they seem under so much pressure to get through topics and keep the standards up. There is just too much to be done. For instance this week they will spend two lessons on learning about time. That is all. They didn’t really get the first one and tomorrow they probably won;t do any better. If they school were given less pressure and more chance to relax and let the children learn then they would find that by covering less the children would learn more.

    Avatar of April Whitlock
    April Whitlock

    Richard, that sounds so sad, and seems to be a  common problem in schools here.  Time is a rather abstract concept, and as far as I understand it, these sorts of concepts are difficult to grasp before age 7.  Part of the problem in the UK is the fact that school becomes too academic, too early.

    I know I am a ‘learning by doing’ person, but how much role does being a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner play in children’s early education?  I mean, it seems obvious that most physical concepts are best absorbed by seeing them in action, doing or feeling them.

    Martin, which Jared Diamond book do you refer to?  I have one or two of his on my to-read list…

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