All the knowledge that we see around us originally came from within.The question arises, If real knowledge comes from within what kind of knowledge is imparted in schools ? Well it is acquired knowledge.
If you just acquire something and are not able to use it then it turns into junk. The schools today have become the storehouses of knowledge and teachers the dispensers of it. And students, the unwilling receivers who don’t know what to do with it . Experience is the first step in the journey of education . One would say how can you make them experience all that is entailed in the textbooks.
Experience is the key to learning. It is being done at two levels.
One the prior knowledge which is the result of child’s old experiences and learning. Second the new knowledge about to be unfolded through a series of experiments conducted in class by the teacher and experiences undergone by the students so as to make learning a natural process rather simply transmit it in the form of words,meaning, phrases, statements which the child is unable to comprehend in the absence of a real life connection to it. First hand real life experience can unfold and open many windows simultaneously integrating the knowledge and making it an enduring experience .
Let’s take an example : – if you are teaching a child about’ energy ‘ – the topic should be exposed beginning with a general view and understanding of it by a common man or a layman we can say before coming to the definition.These can be such as, energy is required to make things move. To move this chair I use some energy. The fan above our head is running on electric energy. A car needs fuel to get energy. We need food to get energy. This will bring out that there are different sources of energy which the students are aware of.
This knowledge should be used to bring about the new knowledge which is definition of energy , how is energy measured , nature of energy , different types of energy and other details . This will help ignite the imagination of students about energy and they will get interested in understanding the topic in detail . Thus experience acts as a glue to connect the the new knowledge and make it more holistic and enduring .
Let’s take an example of Math . Mathematics is an abstract subject where symbols and signs are used to denote a concept . If the children are taught these concepts straight with numbers and their operations they will be intimidated by the subject and develop a phobia because they are not able to comprehend anything about these numbers which are just incomprehensible scribbling for them . So the best thing is to begin with language first which the child has acquired naturally . The concept of number should be preceded by counting of objects with hands on experience till they can associate the symbol with the objects . Similarly other operations should be first executed via an activity trying to bring out the concept behind them . The important part of the activity is ,it should be brought to its logical conclusion that is relating it to the concept else the whole activity will get lost as any other action taking place in life . This experience takes place in two ways . One as it happens in day to day life and second how this experience can be captured in the form of words , sentences and symbols through practice .
Same goes with other subjects like environmental Studies. When we use words , phrases and sentences to bring out the concept before the actual experience it makes it complicated and incomprehensible to the child but the same thing when goes through an experience than those words , phrases and sentences assume a body and become comprehensible . For example – while teaching about plants first thing to do is to take them to a garden or a place with different type of vegetation and observe . Just taking them to the garden is not enough . Important thing is to drive home the point you want them to know . For this you have to transfer their experience into words , phrases and sentences best understood by them .
If these simple steps are followed in a structured manner the child will be able make sense of the whole process and then understand the same as explained in words . So experience is the key to learning .