Digging rather than passive learning
We all like a treasure hunt with its surprises, challenges, and rewards. Learning is no different. When students start with an essential question that they have chosen to explore, curiosity builds. The student has to be active in their pursuit of knowledge, digging to find morsels of facts that begin the understanding process. We are extremely fortunate that with today’s technology, information is a simple click away. This digging for learning leads quickly to mental gymnastics – evaluating false versus true, comparing and contrasting viewpoints, and testing assumptions. Now the learner takes their findings and shares them with fellow investigators for feedback. Clarifying ideas is a function of dialogue between participants. Respectful debate, which is kind, specific, and helpful, goes a long way to learn beyond superficial facts. This mining for knowledge continues to build as the learner refines and reworks their insights. This process is deepened as the student improves the knowledge gained by retrieving details.
All this comes together as the learner prepares a presentation to be given to an audience. This could take many forms including video, slide show, debate, or podcast. Once the learner has successfully researched their topic, made a good analysis, and finally shared it, it would then be time to reflect on what was accomplished. How does this new knowledge connect to the past, and how can we use it to move forward?
Students who have just learned something are often better able than teachers to explain it to their classmates in a language and way that is accessible. Peer discussion exposes students to alternative perspectives on problems and to alternative tactics and strategies. Alternative perspectives enable students to revise or reject initial hypotheses and construct new knowledge and deep meaning. Peer discussion can also be motivational in that it encourages students to persist in reworking their insights. Digging into a student-selected topic not only engages, but also provides a clear path to deep learning. If learning can be likened to a treasure hunt, the search is just as valuable as the end product.
Oak Hill Academy is a NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades pre-kindergarten through eight. Oak Hill Academy is dedicated to a traditional, challenging, and caring learning environment that encourages comprehensive thought processes and deep understandings; thus promoting the wholesome intellectual, emotional, moral, and physical lifetime growth of our students. If you want to learn more about what makes Oak Hill Academy one of the best private school in NJ, visit us online at www.oakhillacademy.com , or subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when we post more topics.