are those who have learnt much, remembered much and
made use of their knowledge in practical life. These
virtues I shall call by the name of `education.' For
such an education mere alphabetical knowledge is not
essential. However, it is certainly admitted that
literary knowledge is immensely useful in reproducing
what one has already learnt."
P. R. Sarkar
We observe, we think, we do. This is how the neural
pathways of the brain are formed. It is in the final
stage of doing that ideas or facts get reinforced,
get fully integrated into our mental sphere. The simple
test of this truth is to ask yourself when your "learning
curve" was at its greatest. Was it more likely
to have been during college courses or on-the-job
training? This is why one of the best ways to learn
something for good is to try to teach it to another!
In order for knowledge to be of any real and lasting
value it must be assimilated, the definition of which
is to incorporate and absorb into the mind. This means
to commit something to long-term memory; to make it
an easily accessible piece of knowledge in one's frame
of reference. This assimilation happens best when
learning leaves the arena of theory and enters the
realm of practice.
encourage students at every turn to apply their education
in many ways. Here are a few:
1. act upon a conclusion you have reached during
social studies investigations of history or current
2. attempt to display a virtue that inspired you during
3. develop an artistic expression of new ideas learned
in science and display it for others
4. write and perform a skit that teaches others what
you learned about another culture
A second way applied learning can be encouraged is
to adopt a classroom project and allow academics such
as research, writing and math to enter into it as
a natural outgrowth of implementing that project.
Examples of these are endless. Here are a few:
1. adopt and clean up a local park or stream
2. elect a class president
3. adopt a classroom pet
4. do a social service project together
Another effective way to encourage applied learning
is through an Electives Program. This program has
three phases. In grades K and 1 interests and talents
are developed through exposure to a variety of learning
opportunities and careful observation of the student.
We call it "free time. In grades 2 and 3, students
begin to pursue interests after assigned responsibilities
are completed. We call them "enrichments."
In grades 4 to 6, students design projects or join
clubs. We call them "electives. Through these
electives students have been able to practice academic
skills in a meaningful way and assimilate knowledge
in a manner that insures it remains with them forever.