Including practical activities in the learning process is a powerful way to enrich the educational experience by fostering a deeper and more enduring understanding by students. ‘Hands on’ methodologies are even preferred by young people, who feel more stimulated and engaged in studies.
Here are some reasons to include practical lessons in the school curriculum right away:
Learning through a concrete project shows the student the practical application of the theory. All that is being taught has an immediate explanation and an application, making learning much more tangible. In addition, practical experiences enable the student to solve problems and challenges that he or she may face outside of school.
Unpredictable situations and changes in the process are very common in projects and practical experiences. While learning by making the student loses the fear of failure and begins to accept error as a fundamental part of the knowledge building process. Accepting failure also helps stimulating creativity and searching for alternative solutions.
One of the great advantages of practice-based teaching is the integration of different disciplines into one project. To accomplish a physics project, for example, students need to have notions of mathematics, chemistry and even a foreign language. The result is more dynamic and stimulating lessons and the chance to easily absorb different contents at the same time.
Taking an idea out of the paper involves challenges that go beyond theoretical knowledge: it takes courage to expose yourself, ability to argue, ability to manage resources and people, flexibility and openness to the new, creativity and critical analysis. Succeeding in making something can be a great empowerment tool as the student overcomes each of these barriers and gains confidence to move on to the next step in the project.
Integrating different skills, sharing time and space with colleagues and discussing different challenges solutions are essential for the completion of a practical project. All that contributes to developing social connections among the students, increases team spirit and tolerance for difference, besides favoring the exchange of knowledge in the classroom.