Learning by Doing

When I was back in school I usually spent most of my days “learning” – I sat in class and listened to the teacher give lecture, answered questions on a worksheet, read and try to remember things (mostly effective when you are able to make connections and associations with things you already know).

We grew up thinking learning is about studying; about reading a book, sitting in a class listening or having someone give you instructions for something. But for most important skills in life, we didn’t learn that way; we observed, we mimicked, we practise, we think, we test it out.

There was a part of my classroom which practised that. I did arts as well and for the 6-8 hours of class I had each week, I was painting, sculpting, sketching, fiddling with graphics on the computer, carrying canvas, squeezing paint, discussing projects and so on. So perhaps I have had a bit more chance compared to others in terms of learning in a different way.

My dream is for classrooms of the future to be more like science labs, art studios, technical workshops. It is for us to be able to carry on the kindergarten style of “teaching” into teenage because practising and doing is so much more important in life than sitting still, shutting up and “absorbing content”.