Real World: A Classroom


Learning theories have put forward different types of interactions possible for learning to happen. 

  •         Behaviourism
  •         Cognitivism
  •         Constructivism
  •         Social Constructivism
  •         Scaffolding
  •         Growth mind-set
  •         Visible learning

The process of learning, by itself is a habit forming process.  Habit forming can be developed in any form depending on our environment, aptitude and attitude towards the happenings around us.  It can be as simple as a routine or as complex as a design functionality. Each theory presented on learning has struck with some aspects which define the process in certain environments. 

‘Learning happens anywhere and everywhere’

real-world-learning

The older version of saying is related to information tool that was available then. Newspapers are a mirror of what is happening around us.  Today, we get the same information within minutes of its happening.  They cover news from natural disasters to man-made disasters, technical to technological innovations, Loss and profit margins etc.  Such information when attended on a daily basis provide an experience of the world around us.

Experience is different from expertise.  Experience is a more valid learning than expertise.  Expert may carry knowledge but experienced ‘know how to apply and troubleshoot’.  Learning needs to happen with experience to understand the elements and threshold of the learnt.  Experience develops through working, communicating and collaborating.

Textual learning towards enhancing knowledge has not provided real life support.  It is now well understood that skill required in the real world is different from that of what is acquired from books.  To achieve this widening gap and in order that learning happens effectively, learning should include the world around us.  Information and informatics work hand in hand to allow analysis of facts and figures.

A classroom is a model of interaction, under controlled conditions, happening in the real world.  To allow provoked thought process, analysis and detailed examination, lessons need to embed the tale of current world happenings.  To understand the need for revolution, students need to understand the frustration and injustice.  When we talk of such incidents, emotions attached to them are not exhibited in originality.  However, when students are allowed to read and ponder related incidents and stories; not only emotional contact, but also they develop a frame work which can further help develop peaceful negotiations towards a better solution for many burning problems. 

How to add these into lessons?

  1. Relate:  Individual lessons are not stand alone.  They are always connected - like alphabet builds words, words build sentences, and sentences build paragraph, lessons are related and connected.  As teachers, to identify these relations means it is to build a real world connected classroom
  2. Build: Once the relationship is developed the model is to be built into exploring arena.  The built model should comprise of objective, inquiry, research, brainstorming and outcome.  The teacher should design the build for easy execution of the students.
  3. Outline: Real world learning does not come with boundaries, so it is important that the teacher set limitation for its approach, research and workout.  Without the dividing line, the work may become cumbersome and confusing.
  4. Framework: The design needs to be discussed, with a trial run by the support members to understand the guiding areas, monitoring areas, observing areas and assessing areas.  This clarity helps in developing a clear setting for the teacher role.
  5. Opportunity: The entire design should carry spots which provide scope for independent thinking and working.  Provision for modifications in the process within the set outlines should be allowed to develop freedom of thought process both among the mentor and the mentee.

Side effect of learning should be competency and skill development.  Achieving the 21st Century skill is only possible when learning is focused on real world rather than an event described in texts, which may be difficult to imagine today.  Learning is for making an individual better.  Better individuals are product of both expertise and experience.  Let us not forgo one for the sake of another.  Real world classrooms provide better surviving skills because it is known that ‘Today or tomorrow – Survival is only for the fittest’.

About the Author
I work as Academic Coordinator at Nalanda Educational Institutions, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Worked in implementing Technology supportive curriculum in our organisation. Trainer and Curriculum designer for technology based Curriculum.

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