Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs was taught at school but I did not link it to learning and education up until recently and therein lies the answer to my own personal learning. I never learnt to apply studied concepts and theory to practice. Most students from my generation with similar educational back grounds echo this sentiment. It was and continues to be the biggest drawback of the Indian educational ‘one size fits all’ system. Standardized testing determined everything, and the aptitude of a student was not recognized outside of this format. Rote learning unlike retrieval based learning (an effective but underused practice) is memorization which encouraged cramming and forgetting rather than lifelong learning. Based on my own struggles as a student, I feel  experiential learning methodologies developed by Ron Fry and popularized by education theorist David A. Kolb, should replace the learning without understanding system. As President Jim Yong Kim (World Bank Group) says about this ‘schooling without learning’ form of education, “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis. When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. Schooling without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children worldwide.” To bridge this gap between theory and practice the four key experiential learning elements (Concrete experience, Reflective observation, Abstract conceptualization, Active experimentation) play a crucial role.Students must be encouraged to participate actively, air their views understand concepts, know their relevance and application in the real world, and have the confidence to question them if need be. How, where and when they will/can use the curriculum being taught should be an integral part of their learning. Supporting active exploration, creativity and learning should be the goal rather than passivity of lecture based attendance and textbook reading.The widely accepted assessment format, which is dependent solely upon the answering of questions in a stringently controlled examination format, should be amended to accommodate all types of learners. Research indicates that “academic achievement and student behavior are influenced by the quality of the teacher and student relationship” (Jones 95). So having a positive student-teacher relationship (my big motivator) not only facilitates learning, but impacts and influences a students’ academic and social development greatly. Although only improving this relationship will not produce academic gains, however students who have a positive and supportive relationship with their teachers definitely attain higher levels of achievement than those with a constrained relationship.

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