The terms rigor and relevance have rocketed to the forefront of K-12 education initiatives over the past 10 years, and with good reason. Research has
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Experiential learning is widely recognized as a high-impact educational practice that occurs outside the classroom through experiences such as internships, study abroad, and service-learning. However, experiential learning works very well inside the classroom as well. In fact, there are a number of reasons why faculty may want to facilitate an experiential learning component in class rather than outside of class.
A biology class works with a local environmental organization to test water samples from the Chesapeake Bay. A graphics design class helps a non-profit organization build a new website. A childhood development class serves as mentors to at-risk students in an after-school program.
Not all disengaged students fall into the stereotype of the slacker who comes late to class (if at all), or is as easy to spot as Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In fact there are a number of students who are masters at playing the game … doing just enough to get by … attending class but not really participating, much less engaging with the content.
As educators we hear and heed Peter McLaren’s warning, “You can’t teach people anything … You have to create a context in which they can analyze themselves and their social formations and lives.” 1 We believe the creation of this context must be our aim as educators, and this context must be balanced between theory and practice. In our pursuit to strike this balance, we believe that experiential education has the potential to assist our fellow educators in transforming their pedagogical practices to more deeply engage their students and improve learning outcomes.