This year, the Social Studies department at St. John’s Ravenscourt School has been reading Jay Robert’s book Beyond Learning by Doing: Theoretical currents in experiential education. We have hopefully done this in an attempt to critically think about what it is we do as individual teachers and as a department, and whether or not this is meaningful for our learning communities.
Roberts has made me truly think about my practice: “It is not enough to blindly praise the real or imagined laurels of experiential education, not is it productive to simply criticize the ways it doesn’t match with our ideals and values” (p. 109). Far too often, I feel that I am too likely to praise mediocrity and not challenge myself to provide transformative and educative experiences for my students. It is difficult for educators to say “I suck,” or “what I have been doing has not been productive.” I find lately that I say these things almost every night!
As such, we are focussing today on chapters 6 & 7 in Beyond Learning by Doing. These chapters, following Roberts’ analysis of the various currents of experiential education, forces the reader to contemplate on our own practice and for a bit of a gut check in terms of what he qualifies as the “neo-experiential.”
What do you, as an educator, take away from these two chapters? Do they push you? Do they anger you? How do they relate to your own practice? We welcome comments from all educators as a greater dialogue will help us construct a larger and more fluid body of knowledge.