Experiential Learning is Mandatory

Workshop at NIT Srinagar on world science day
Experiential Learning is Mandatory
Representational ImageFlickr [Creative Commons]

Experiential learning (EL) is simply learning by doing and is a powerful way to help students to identify changes required to their skills and behaviors. It can be best defined as, “developing personal understanding, knowledge skills and attitudes through the analysis of and reflection on, activity”. The entire education system (from bottom to top) will need to have an adaptive approach to ensure that our children succeed and find their place, nationally and globally. “If we teach students today, as we taught yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.” These words of John Dewey resonate across time. For decades, the education we received was different from what we needed and even we observed it during our school days in late nineteen eighties. Fortunately, New Education Policy (NP) has come at a time when schools have to adjust to new societal demands and expectations by transforming themselves. It is clear that without a skilled workforce, no community will prosper and no industry will thrive in future.

Despite the best efforts of governments and other stakeholders, schools are struggling to meet the evolving needs of students. Particularly, in the secondary stages for classes 09 to 12, innumerable aspects of flexibility for subject selection, student choices, break-out options for vocational training along with a gap year will help in developing various aspects of critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making. All these virtues are lacking, does not match with the growing needs of the society, putting humanity in trouble day in and day out. It is high time to make our students well rounded individuals and for successful rollout of the policy, it is mandatory to involve students in hands on activities and in live projects.

Policy suggests students participate in a 10-day bag-less period sometime during Classes 6-8 where they intern with local vocational experts. Bagless days will be encouraged throughout the year for various types of enrichment activities involving quizzes, sports and environmental awareness programmes. Hands-on learning is a rewarding way for students to explore, retain, and experiment with all aspects of their chosen field of study, particularly at the collegiate/trade school level of career development and education. The potentials are essentially limitless and the amount of preparation and confidence this method offers can’t be overstated.

Celebrated every November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the significant role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable. At NIT Srinagar, the department of Physics has arranged the Science Stars of the valley from the departments of Secondary Education, probably first time on single platform to demonstrate the common phenomena of science in simplified way. The event coincides with the National Education Day and this day will witness number of scientific programmes including the Science Quiz and Science Projects. An overwhelming response has been received, which show that there are many enthusiastic students of science. Public and private universities, including premier institutions like the IITs and NITs, shall use merit-based results from National and International Olympiads, and results from other relevant such programmes, as part of the criteria for admissions into their undergraduate programmes.

Dr. M. A. Shah, author of “science of small”, holds the Chair, Department of Physics and is actively engaged in speeding science through various programmes at NIT Srinagar.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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