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Week 2, Experiential Learning: EVO 2017

Weekly reflection: What is experiential teaching and how can it be implemented in EFL/ESL teacher programs?

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My Week 2, Experiential Learning: EVO 2017 is over. I am happy to share my reflections on the given question and tasks.

Aristotle wrote in the Nichomachean Ethics «for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them».

There are many definitions of Experiential learning:

David Kolb mentions, “Learning is a continuous process grounded in experience”.

David Kolb’s theory is an amazing approach where we can observe four types of Learners: Assimilators, Convergers, Accommodators and Divergers. The theory and approach help define the learning style and apply it to the education.

Kolb’s Learning Style is the following:

kolbs-learning-style

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While creating my next lesson, I recollected the game «Guess the animal». Well, panda came into my mind. And my decision was to draw it quickly. Actually I applied the Kolb’s theory here:

  1. Reflective observation — watch how others do this 
  2. Abstract conceptualization — theory of drawing 
  3. Active experimentation — first trials
  4. Concrete experience — got a picture, have new ideas how I can do it now otherwise.

Kolb’s 6 principles underline the necessity to create knowledge through the process of transformation, experience, reflection, thinking, adaptation to the realia, i.e. inserting students and their knowledge into a real life-based situations to acquire new experiences and receiving next food for thoughts to be processed and further actions to be rectified.

Linda Darling-Hammond describes teachers this way, “[…] understanding many things about how people learn and how to teach effectively, including aspects of pedagogical content knowledge that incorporate language, culture, and community contexts for learning. Teachers also need to understand the person, the spirit, of every child and find a way to nurture that spirit. And they need the skills to construct and manage classroom activities efficiently, communicate well, use technology, and reflect on their practice to learn from and improve it continually.”

darling-hammond-framework

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I strongly believe that this is the key of teaching education, and are the most crucial moments we need to pay attention to.

The framework introduced by Hammond gives us a deep shear on the essence of teaching and learning, their interaction and correlation.

Teachers need to be informed and trained in the way of theory-practice-intermingle so that the learners could be able to apply and implement their knowledge in practice.

Teachers should become facilitators who are always ready to adapt, fix, add up, rearrange, change, edit the learning course so that the learners could be productive, successful and satisfied with their study, knowledge and experience they gain.

I think it is wonderful to create the so-called bridge between the theory you give and the practice they will need in life. Hence the educators, teachers, supervisors should have a well-refined bulk of knowledge and experiences, and the ability, moreover, the will to move further to enrich their on-going core fundamentals.

I am sure the system of education is only on its way to the improvement of learning teaching programs, the programs that will become state-of-the-art products of collective cooperation.

Much respect,

Anastasiia Gubarenko

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