Liven up lessons with experiential learning tools
There is a lot more to learning than being taught how to pass exams. As we prepare our next generation for an unpredictable future, skills and behaviours associated with emotional intelligence, resilience and team dynamics can be just as important as knowledge.
According to “Life Lessons”, research by Educational foundation Sutton Trust, key life skills like confidence, motivation, resilience and communication are all highly valued by employers, but are often missing from academic curricula. How can you develop these skills in a way that really works when opportunities for extra-curricular development are increasingly limited due to the pressures of a packed schedule?
That’s where MTa’s approach to experiential learning can really help you bridge the gap between theory and reality by using simulated activities to mimic real-world situations in which participants learn valuable skills for school and beyond.
You could use these kits with your students to carry out short, hands-on, tasks in small groups. MTa has taken 30 years of experience helping the world’s leading organisations develop their people and developed a kit especially for young people, MTa PASS.
Potential x Attitude x Skill = Success
Students complete enjoyable but challenging tasks that draw on a range of skills. They then have the chance to reflect on the skills before completing a second task — applying what they have learned to develop and improve their performance. They can put the skills and strategies they learn straight to work at school, and take with them to work when they leave education.
The PASS kit is designed especially for the 8-18 age group but using a similar suite of activities as those in the MTa Insights kit which is widely used in business. Activities are only 30 minutes long so fit nicely in the school timetable or in extracurricular activities and clubs. Current customers have used successfully for induction days for students starting secondary/high school, in Personal and Social Education (PHSE) sessions and Citizenship classes.
A study by Lancaster University on the use of MTa Pass at a Primary School in northern England found that students quickly learned useful skills and put them into practice in a wide range of subjects/lessons during their regular learning. The students also were very enthusiastic about completing the “challenges” set for them in MTa sessions and understood how the 11 learning skills they acquired could help them, for example in group work.
“They gave the impression that whilst they liked to ‘play to their strengths’ and work in the way which they felt most comfortable, they also intended to try to use other techniques to be more rounded learners,” the study concludes.
Bringing STEM to life
A key area where experiential learning can make a big difference is in bringing Science, Engineering and Mathematics to life by offering a break from every day life. Many schools have used the purpose-built MTa STEM kit to promote team and interpersonal skills while promoting STEM careers. With 24 activities there is wide range that can also be used in extra-curricular settings like Maths Clubs or for the skills section of programmes like the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Alicia Brown at Stoke Damerel Community College in Plymouth has used the STEM kit for constructioneering’ exercises in a maths club for students aged 12-14.
“The kids enjoy using the kit and find the activities challenging and memorable. I think pupils who aren’t necessary that interested in STEM yet would benefit from using these activities too,” says Alicia. She also uses it in PHSE classes
“I’ve found that it offers some really important learning opportunities: I’ve seen children develop their adaptability, resilience and problem-solving skills,”
Indeed, resilience is one thing that everyone can learn from experiential learning.
“Clever kids never fail in conventional learning. Experiential Learning teaches them how to fail well and fail quickly, and get better at dealing with feedback,” adds MTa managing director Jamie Thompson.
Find out how you can bring the classroom to life with MTa PASS. This suite of 17 activities helps young people think, grow interpersonal skills, understand success and take responsibility all while enjoying learning and making the most of their potential.