What is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning is a well-known model in education. Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb, 1984) defines experiential learning as "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience."
Experiential learning involves the whole student, meaning not just their intellect but also their senses, their feelings and their personalities.
Experience-based activities facilitate learning for students with a variety of learning styles. Students with learning disabilities greatly benefit from activities that enable them to make a personal connection to concepts introduced by drawing upon their own personal experiences. This enables students to relate to subject matter in a way that is most meaningful to them. When students are actively involved in what they are learning, their retention rate increases. They are more apt to store the information in their memory bank for retrieval in the future.
As a teacher who takes pride in providing my students with Experienced Based Instruction, I can attest to the fact that Kolb’s model is greatly effective. My students are highly motivated by the activities I incorporate into my daily lessons. Deb Castelluccio, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Typing to Communicate
It has been 8 years since supported typing was first introduced to Celebrate the Children. In those 8 years many amazing things have happened. While it was always our philosophy to presume competence in all of our students, when they began communicating fluently, we began to understand just how much they were being underestimated, even with the best of intentions. Over these past 8 years, we have learned so much more from our students than they have learned from us. The way we present information, the way we interact whether it be verbally or in other ways tends to show just how much we believe in each student.
I am proud to say that over time, CTC has built a culture where every student is acknowledged as intelligent. The conversations you hear between students and staff or amongst peers is telling of that. It is not unusual to include students, even non-verbal students, in the development of their individual plans. Including the students in this process takes some of the guesswork out of it. Students are able to tell us what they need, why they need it and how things should be implemented. When we follow their lead in this manner, things usually run much smoother and take less time to overcome than when we assume we know what a student needs.
Students are participating in age appropriate academics/activities and are flourishing. They understand their difficulties and when required to work on things that are difficult for them, they are readily trying once the process and the reasoning for the process is given to them. They and we understand more and more that what we see is not what we get and much of what they may present to us is beyond their control or desire. By including them in intellectual conversation surrounding these difficulties, they realize the respect that is being given to them and will work to overcome things through activities that they would have resisted in the past.
Friendships are being made every day. All students ideas are seen as important and students using typing to communicate are finding that students who communicate verbally are seeking them out, asking for their opinions and wanting to spend time with them, truly making friends, some for the very first time.
Families have been extremely supportive of their children and are embracing communication in their homes as well. This has not always been easy but with practice and consistency, everyone is making their own progress and has their own amazing stories to tell of their journeys. Being able to communicate in all environments is very powerful and acknowledging that their children do indeed have many things to communicate contributes to their child’s sense of self and pride in who they are!
This is a wonderful thing to witness and we look forward to everyone’s continued progress!!!
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.