Thursday, September 12, 2019

Real learning vs. misperceptions of learning

Yesterday workers poured the slab for an addition to the school woodshop in our new hands-on learning center. And my Kindergarten students made "color wheels." The color wheels were a hit, and the kids enjoyed demonstrating how they worked when they got home. How do I know that? A parent sent me a video.

Today in the wood shop I'll be helping one of our students plan his eagle scout project, and I'll be helping our upper and lower elementary school students finish making looms the are making for study of world cultures.

An interesting study suggest that despite strong evidence that active experiential learning is far more effective, students and faculty have misperceptions that the opposite is true. The following quote is from the synopsis of the study.
"Comparing passive lectures with active learning using a randomized experimental approach and identical course materials, we find that students in the active classroom learn more, but they feel like they learn less. We show that this negative correlation is caused in part by the increased cognitive effort required during active learning. Faculty who adopt active learning are encouraged to intervene and address this misperception, and we describe a successful example of such an intervention."
This of course has to do with the difference between knowing about the world, and knowing how to actually navigate one's way in the real world. The German word Kentniss refers to the latter. You can put a kid in a lecture hall, and they may be able to recite in the short term a few of the things the professor had said. Put a kid in a laboratory of some kind, be it a chemistry lab or a wood shop, and the lessons persist. Both in the hands and minds, and the things a Kindergarten child makes from real wood will be kept for a generation or more.

Make, fix and create... Assist others in learning likewise.

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