There are some educators who believe that integrating ‘real-life’ experiences – which they understand as experiential learning – into school curriculum offers no discernible long-term value to our students.
One such person is John Kijinski, who teaches English at the State University of New York, Fredonia. He wrote a recent article which appeared on the Inside Higher Ed website.
I get his point, but he misunderstands what true experiential learning is. Either that or he has confused ‘real-life’ experiences as the same thing as experiential learning. They are not the same – learning by doing is not the same as experiential learning.
There is no doubt that there is a LOT of valuable learning occurring within the four walls of a classroom, but it is also true that adopting an experiential-based learning approach (one imbued with ample opportunities for reflection) not only engages students more powerfully in their learning but is a lot more fun to teach.