Friday, December 3, 2010

LB#8: Teaching in Contrived Experiences

This lesson reminded me of science classes back in high school. Models of Atoms, DNA, Solar System and the Earth were shown to us to explain what the real thing actually looks like. They were either shrunk or enlarged to be visible to the class. This is the contrived experiences, the edited version of the direct experience.

Since we can't chop off a part of the earth to show our students its layers, a styro-model of the earth with a part chopped off is used instead.

And since we can't go to outer space to show how an eclipse occurs, we use a ping pong ball as the moon, a tennis ball as the earth, and a flashlight to represent the light from the sun. This is called a mock-up.

In science laboratories, we see a frog's internal organs in a bottle. This would help us in explaining the anatomy of a frog without actually slicing one open in front of the class. This is called a specimen. Other objects may be artifacts, which are usually seen in museums or exhibits.

A simulation is another kind of contrived experience. Take for example the school paper. Students are assigned as Editor-in-Chief, Contributors, Page Editors, Photographers, Circulation Managers, and the like. This is a simulation of a largescale newspaper is made. It is manageable, the students learn the actual process, and it represents the real thing.

Another kind is game. Games can be made up to check whether the learning objective was achieved.

Contrived experiences may be a substitute of the real thing. But what's important is that the learning objective is achieved in a fun, interactive way. Retention is better when the learner experiences what he needs to learn.

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