Hands-On Learning

Part of the reason why I signed up for ANT267 was because of its unique pedagogy. Community-based learning is somewhat of a foreign concept to me. I have had, like most kids, both the experiences of hands-on application and going to school, but they were never directly related. My connotation for “high school” is a mix of multiple choice tests, AP practice exams, and daunting papers.

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Reading this week’s Moodle pdf “Reflection and Service Learning” made me wonder why more classes aren’t hands-on. Sure, certain academic fields wouldn’t be able to have the experience that our class is beginning to have. However, it seems that the class will learn much more than how to write papers and pass tests. In Principles of Good PRactice in Combining Service and Learning, the main dictum goes as follows: “Service, combined with learning, adds value to each and transforms.”

In the reading, John Dewey furthers this idea by creating four criteria for determining whether or not the education is truly educative.

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(John Dewey)

1. Must generate interest.

2. Must be worthwhile intrinsically.

3. Must present problems that awaken new curiosity and create a demand for information.

4. Must cover a considerable time span and be capable of foresting development over time.

It is pretty easy to see that our class fits within this criteria. The group system allows each to decide on a project that is not only interesting, but meaningful to them, and thus is intrinsically worthwhile. This next semester will bring us into contact with many problems about our projects, all of which will hopefully be manageable. Although I haven’t had the experience of community-based learning, I can predict that it will be an enlightening one.

-Tom Champion