Experiential learning may get kids out of the classroom, but it’s shown to boost both personal skills and academic performance
Who says learning only happens in the classroom? No one at GEMS World Academy (Singapore), that’s for sure! This global international school is all about experiential learning, which gives students amazing experiences outside the classroom that in turn foster personal development and boost academic performance. Whether they’re learning about Aboriginal culture in Australia, completing service projects in Thailand, or studying environmental impact here in Singapore, students engage meaningfully with the world around them while developing international-mindedness and intercultural understanding.
“Experiential learning fosters the development of communication and social skills through teamwork, independence and challenge,” says Mark Gardner, the school’s MYP and IGCSE Coordinator. What’s more, these benefits carry over to the classroom, as GWA has seen major boosts “across cognitive, affective and behavioural domains as students process knowledge, skills and attitudes with a high level of active involvement”.
We think it’s so cool that every student across all grade levels at GWA takes part in experiential learning; kids in Grade 6 recently traveled Down Under, where in addition to experiencing authentic Aboriginal culture, they learned about wildlife preservation and conservation at The Australia Zoo, then helped volunteers plant trees to help protect the Australian shoreline from coastal erosion.
Secondary students in Grades 7-10 participated in various service projects in Thailand, including building fish farms, improving conditions in a local school, and preparing fields for planting to support food production for the local community. Of course they also got the chance to experience Thai food and culture. We don’t know about you, but we were lucky to get to stop at McDonalds on our middle school field trips – what a tremendous opportunity for these kiddos!
Even here in Singapore, GWA students develop a deeper connection with the local area by learning about environmental challenges (haze, anyone?), gaining a new appreciation for the pressures we place on the evinronment around us, and developing solutions to some of the challenges we face.
According to Mr. Gardner: “Experiential learning results in greater student engagement, and encourages reflection that links experiences back to areas of the curriculum, adding value to learning opportunities, academic progress and personal development.”
“GEMS World Academy (Singapore) embraces the notion of experiential learning to provide students with connections to a range of learning opportunities, both at home and abroad, to create experiences which are relevant, interesting and absorbing.”
GEMS World Academy (Singapore), 2 Yishun Street 42, Singapore 768039, Tel: (+65) 6808 7300