Experiential learning and why it matters for kids

Experiential learning and why it matters for kids Cover Image

Our classrooms don’t equip our kids enough to survive in the real world. Enter the world of experiential learning with hands-on interactions that build skills and capabilities

Did you know that Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba, always wanted to learn English? He would bicycle to hotels in Hangzhou and guide tourists around the city for free in order to learn the language. This exposure was crucial in helping him understand a business where the maximum clientele would be English-speaking people.

Progressive educationists call this experiential learning and a study tour is typically woven around it, putting children on the path of experiences that create global exposure, boost critical thinking and expose them to different scenarios.

Taking a cue from this, Travel To Learn has introduced ‘World Classrooms,’ a learning concept beyond the walls of the classroom! It is an extension of experiential, project-based learning and prepares students to be lifelong learners. Students understand the richness and diversity of Eastern and Western histories, their traditions and to be responsible world citizens with a commitment to serve family, society and community.

Defined learning objectives and global exposure

Specialized experiential study packages are hard to find in the country. After all, there are as many interests as there are people, which is why Anupam Vaid set up Travel to Learn. These tours are designed for both exploration and study, centred around subjects like languages, science, theatre (performing arts), school exchanges, immersions, university life and sports, among others. These are skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. Partnering with international leaders in education from USA, UK, Europe, South East Asia, Japan and Australia, Travel to Learn conducts specialized tours that offer opportunities in experiential learning.

According to Vaid, parents are evangelists of change because they are willing to go all the way in helping their children identify avenues that have – defined learning outcomes and maximum learning objectives in order to boost career opportunities.

World trends in science and technology

Travel to Learn curates programs that are very different from the mainstream tours that you would normally encounter. The CERN Youth Science Program for students aged 12 to 16 is great for a career in science. The tour takes students to Europe’s most
exciting scientific centres, including hands-on lab experience in world’s largest particle physics laboratory, CERN Switzerland.

Students can also be astronauts for a day at the Euro Space Center and can take part in actual astronaut training activities, including simulating walking on the moon! For an aspiring scientist or an astronaut in India, experiences like these actually fill them with the wonder and motivation to pursue their goals with more passion.

In one of Travel to Learn tours, students discovered the application of fluorescent light in night-clubs and learned about the emerging importance of stem cell technology and how it is transforming the scientific work space.

Let’s say that your child wants to get into football. Chances are that he or she will have the talent but actually playing in an international club and understanding the tactical awareness and the experience of facing major league players will go a long way in establishing stellar careers in the sport.

Travel to Learn organizes ‘Let’s Football,’ a camp developed in association with the Valencia Football Club. It offers a slice of football reality that will otherwise be impossible to get — actual training, matches and add-ons like language lessons and immersion in the Spanish culture.

Schools can also choose the Outdoor Education Programs, based in some of the most exciting destinations in South East Asia including: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia & Nepal. Says Vaid, “We design entire trips around any of or four important criteria: service, skills, physical recreation & adventurous journeys. Some of the most popular programs include – Community service, Authentic Learning, orienteering, navigation exercises, camping, elephant trekking, hiking, Cycling & rafting. We can also design a range a host of activities such as hands-on cooking classes, ‘Great Race’ style events, and interaction with local schools and student contemporaries. Our trips encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery.

How can these tours help schools?

Does your child have a flair for language, culture and interpersonal relationships? With the French Immersion Programme or the (World Classroom tour), he or she can study to be a diplomat, linguist or an interpreter, doing some high-impact work. Students in India have very few opportunities to go to another country and shadow an industry expert or a student from another education system. Aspiring sportspersons do not have access to up-to-date technologies, such as expert understanding and development of physical abilities or adaptation to physical abilities that a sport demands.

Most Indian schools teach language through grammar but it is naturally acquired only through conversations and improvisations, best brought forth by cultural immersion programs. In their study tour to Japan, for instance, Travel to Learn has veered away from touristy experiences and have curated more personalized experiences, bringing in themes like Manga, anime and martial arts into the fold.

Says Vaid, “When it comes to educational tours, we bring in a level of customization for Indian schools. Whatever the learning interest, we have a program for the same. Many of the schools that we work with consider study tours to be critical experiences that students must have and actually include these programs as viable options in their school calendars, so that parents can prepare accordingly, including getting passports ready. On our part, we give it an extra dimension so that the tour is relevant and meaningful from the school’s point of view.”

We are all moving into a creative and culturally diverse economy, where communication, presentation and creative exploration matter, as much as tolerance and understanding of other people. Technical skills alone won’t suffice and experiential learning will give students crucial real-life problem solving opportunities.

This is a sponsored article. To know more about Travel To Learn and sign up for a program, please contact Anupam Vaid at anupam@traveltolearn.in.

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