Hands-On Learning engages all learners | Christine Jansen

Christine Jansen at New Morning School, elementary classroom.

Hands-on Learning is very important to learning and part of our classroom every day. Hands-on Learning is learning by the process of doing.

This idea became popular in the early 1950s and was backed by famous psychologists like Jean Piaget, Kurt Lewin and John Dewey. It can also be called Experiential Learning.

Experiential Learning quickly became a staple in American education, but isn’t always seen in classrooms today. This kind of teaching and learning will engage all kinds of learners and can be applied to any subject. We are able to use hands-on learning as much as possible at New Morning School.

If you walk through our school, you will see it in every classroom. It is ingrained in our school and our teachers. We believe in our students taking part in their learning. In the elementary class, we use it during all of our teaching. It takes place in math, reading, writing, Spanish, art, science, and social studies.

A few examples of hands-on learning would be making movies, putting together skits to act out gardening, cooking, weaving, building, playing games to reinforce ideas and making their own games to demonstrate ideas. These are just some of the ways we use it. We strive to get our students moving and engaged in learning. It allows students to experiment with trial and error, learn from their mistakes and understand the potential gaps between theory and practice.

Most important, it provides educators with a unique opportunity to enrich the minds of their students in new and engaging ways. We are able to make adjustments when needed on the spot and assess what our students may need.

Hands on Learning will:

  1. Increase engagement with students
  2. Give opportunities for feedback and critique
  3. Give extra practice to learners
  4. Will benefit all learning styles
  5. Improve problem solving

Christine Jansen is an elementary teacher with New Morning School in Plymouth, MI. She can be reached at christine@newmorningschool.com.