Importance of Practical education in schools

Introduction

Can you imagine someone teaching you to swim or drive a vehicle, within four walls of a classroom? It is impossible!! You have to get into the water to learn swimming and you have to be out on the road to learn driving. These are examples of skill based activities. They are practice oriented. Theoretical knowledge of such activities needs to be supported by practice.

Photo showing various education aspects

What do leading CEOs say?

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM insists-
“Getting a job at today’s IBM does not always require a college degree.”

According to Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn
“What matters most [in today’s workforce] is relevant skills.”

David Blake, cofounder of the learning platform Degreed offers the most poignant insight.
“It shouldn’t matter how you picked up your skills, just that you did.”

Much of the research on the future workforce also points to practical skills an important part to lead to success.

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The World Economic Forum, a leading organization in forecasting future skills lists complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management and coordinating with others as the top five skills needed in 2020.

Negligible presence of practical learning in schools

Although some schools are trying their best, there is still much emphasis on high stakes testing, the tightening of academic standards, and fierce competition for university seats. Due to these factors practical skills do not receive the time and attention they deserve in a student’s life.

Students are given more of theoretical knowledge rather than practical knowledge of the subjects.

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Past enrichment courses like small engines, stitching, carpentry, engineering and architectural design have been squeezed out of the curriculum, replaced by academic enrichment courses like study hall and S.A.T. prep.

Benefits

  • -When you do something with your own hands you remember better.
  • -Practical work promotes experiential learning.
  • -Practical work encourages self-learning.
  • -It familiarizes students with tools and equipment that they will be required to use.
  • -Practice leads to perfection.
  • -One cannot become an expert overnight; greater the practice, greater the expertise.
GIF showing neon tube experiment
  • -Involvement of students is more in practical work.
  • -Practical work complements theory.
  • -Practical assignments are often carried out in groups. Group work helps to inculcate social values and values like sharing, cooperation, team spirit, compassion etc.
  • -Practical work makes students independent and increases their confidence.

Why practical education is gaining popularity?

It does not require mugging up of things

Some students are quite good at remembering things they have read or maybe heard somewhere. While others have to work really hard in order to retain something they’ve read. Mugging up things puts a lot of pressure in the brains of various students. Thus, when we look at things practically and experience them, we need not mug up a book. It helps relieving stress from our heads, isn’t it?

Knowledge retains in our mind

When we are cramming a lesson for a test, our brain tends to remember it for a short while, which can be shorter than the duration of your test. It does not serve the actual purpose of learning something. You try too hard to learn a theorem or an explanation word to word by heart but always forget one part or the other. While doing it practically, it can be in form of experiments, real life projects or educational trips, the knowledge and the whole learning experience stays in our mind for long.

Involves application and deals with real life situations

So, tell me something. Is knowing about facts and theories of any use if you aren’t aware of its application in real life? We all keep wondering that what is the use of sine theta, cos theta, etc in our life. But when introduced to its applications, we realize the importance of trigonometry in architecture and related fields. So, unless you don’t know the use of theoretical concepts in real life situations, you will keep wondering throughout your school life as to why you are studying those particular topics.

Here’s an article on 8 fascinating Vocational courses

Develops a better understanding

Just by reading about a phenomenon or a lesson, it cannot get straight to your mind even though it may be explained in the simplest manner. For instance, could you have ever understood the reflection of light had you not seen a mirror? No.  You actually got to see it happening in front of your eyes. Practical knowledge can also help in literature. According to an author the song of a nightingale is beautiful but how would you know that unless you listen to it with your own ears?

Interesting => Easy

GIF showing practical lab

When you find something interesting, it seems to be easy, right? You have got your heart in it and you do it with utmost attention and creativity. The learning process comparatively becomes easier when done practically. When you’re doing something on a practical basis, its reaches your mind more effectively which makes it easier to comprehend, apply and remember.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

~Benjamin Franklin

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