Steven Shapiro, Experiential Learning Coordinator at Bexley City Schools, trains school staff and works with Central Ohio community partners to develop and implement experiential learning opportunities. Such programming is based on his belief that it helps students learn and find their voices and passions.
And since October 2020, Shapiro has sought to spread this message to a wider audience through its podcast, Experience Matters. In the podcast, Shapiro interviews people associated with Bexley about his experience with this type of learning and how it changed them. On August 29, content aggregator site FeedSpot ranked podcasts as one of the top five podcasts dedicated to experiential learning in the country.
“I think that when people experience some kind of learning first hand, they can often connect to it in a deeper way than when they get the information,” Shapiro told Columbus Jewish News. “While you can integrate information, learn knowledge, and acquire skills, experience is a place where you can integrate everything you have learned and connect it to yourself more personally and directly. . “
Definition of experiential learning
Whereas traditional education uses books and other materials in the classroom to discuss new information with students, experiential learning is outside the classroom by letting students learn by means such as service projects and simulations. It will be done at. For example, Shapiro has worked for many years in a program called Mosaic, a humanities program in which students across Franklin County work with partner organizations on issues facing the community.
According to Shapiro, for example, Mosaic students worked with new immigrants to teach them all their skills, including how to apply for work and interviews. He added that these were not only the skills they were teaching others, but they were learning these skills by teaching them.
Shapiro, a member of Temple Israel in Columbus, said his dedication to experiential learning was partly derived from his faith and the Jewish principle of “restoring the world” or Tickoon Olam.
“I think what has always driven me in this job is to create opportunities for students to speak out, empower and make a difference in the world,” said Shapiro. “My Jewish values have always been behind my thoughts on trying to help children learn how to make the world a better place.”
Shapiro also traveled alone with students to learn about different cultures, such as visiting Mosaic students at Sikh temples, the Grunanak Religious Society in Columbus, or schools in Bali.
“I have worked with teachers and students in many countries,” he said.
This included his work from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
“I was part of a team of American educators training emerging democratic teachers to prepare students for active citizenship demands,” Shapiro said. “I have traveled to Poland, Ukraine and South Africa. Helping new democratic teachers prepare their children for active citizenship doubts my practice as a high school socialist teacher. It was a powerful learning experience for me in terms of throwing. Did my teaching practice promote positive citizenship? I used their voices to ask children to make changes and ask authorities Did you teach them to do it? Of course, the answer required hands-on learning. “
Bexley supports programming
He said the response to experiential programming from students, parents and school officials was positive.
“I felt a lot of enthusiasm for this from students and parents,” said Shapiro, who has more than 100 students enrolled in each event for hands-on programs such as student exchange programs and gap year programming. He said he was getting a lot of attention. last year.
Shapiro and other Bexley school system staff have also developed a new tool, Bexley Connects, to further experiential learning in the community. Bexley Connects is an online platform that allows adults to share their professional and personal experiences and affiliations with Bexley City Schools teachers and students. Shapiro said more than 350 community members have already signed up and his goal is to have more than 500 participants.
Looking to the future, he said Bexley Connect is working with the Bexley Chamber of Commerce next month or two to develop a leadership program for young women. Shapiro is also working with the Bexley Minority Parents Alliance to develop a mentoring program for older children to teach younger children. And over the next few months, he will hold a series of community conversations on a key issue called Hey Bexley, Let’s Talk. Shapiro also enrolls students in a global scholarly program offered by the Columbus Council on World Affairs to teach students about the world around them.
Pushback for overtesting
Shapiro said the increased use of experiential learning would lead to indeterminate potential overtesting and overestimation.
“We participate in this accountability movement, where everyone is measured, tested, counted, ranked and sorted,” he said. “And what you lose in all of your measurements, rankings, and counts is what is most difficult to measure: who you are, what you care about, how you appear in the world, and so on.”
Perhaps even more important than students learning using experiential learning is the self-discovery they experience, Shapiro said.
“Through my career, I found out when I was doing experiential learning, that is, when I was supporting students doing experiential learning projects. They grew up to themselves and grew up to themselves. I saw him understanding what he cares about and what he wants, about. ” “In that respect, it influenced not only the choices about the student’s career, but also the choices about what they wanted to do.”
Such learning also helps students enter college and makes it more marketable for employers, Shapiro said. Universities and employers no longer look solely at grades and school activities when considering accepting or hiring students. Instead, leadership, commitment to the cause, real-world experience, and marketable skills stand out.
He said the experiential learning project can help applicants because the university wants to bring together a full class of students with different skills and experience. And recent employers aren’t interested in which college they attended or how good their grades are, but in what the candidate can do and what skills they have.
“I think colleges and employers can directly recognize the skills you have gained through experience,” said Shapiro. “But in many cases, they are also clearly aware of the soft skills that students develop … these are very important soft skills. The ability to collaborate, the ability to effectively convey ideas, new people The ability to interact with and work in different cultural situations. “
Shapiro uses experiential learning to help Bexley students find their passion and goals.Local news
Source link Shapiro uses experiential learning to help Bexley students find their passion and goals.Local news