Advice Column, Education, Koa Academy, Recently

HOW DOES A HIGH ENGAGEMENT LEARNING ENVIRONMENT WORK?

  • Koa Academy
  • Category Advice Column, Education, Koa Academy, Recently

A high engagement learning environment enables our children to be interested and enthusiastic participants in their own learning, and also empowers them to becoming masters of their own learning experiences and academic achievement.  Mark Anderson, Principal and Co-founder of Koa Academy is adamant that high engagement is not something that you leave to chance.  He says, “You create a high engagement learning environment intentionally.  It comes from an understanding that children learn best when they are involved and have age-appropriate accountability for their learning progress.  It is also based on providing an agile and flexible environment that can cater to children’s diversity when it comes to igniting their engagement.”

Educational Psychologist, Angela Hough explains that a child’s engagement is crucial to their learning. She says, “Children can possibly learn facts, but without engaging and having an experience or learning to apply the knowledge – then those facts do not have purpose or meaning. Transformative learning is about the need to create meaning from the learning experience. Therefore, I would encourage learning that involves experiences, embodiment, sharing and communicating learning. Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience. Usually, the more involved a child is in their school and class, and the more that they ‘own’ their learning, then the happier they are and the more they learn.”

Learning through doing and learning through reflection

Learning is not simply listening to a teacher telling you the facts.  You may remember those facts for some time afterwards, but that’s just remembering. How many of us parents have long forgotten a myriad of facts or mathematical operations even though we might have remembered them well enough at the time to pass our school tests?  There’s a lot we didn’t learn, because we can’t retrieve actual knowledge to answer the questions or do the sums today.  Memory fades, but knowledge grows.  

Learning happens differently.  Anderson says, “At Koa Academy, we focus on practical, applied and meaningful use of content. This is why our Grades 4 to 9 do all the content subjects through our Engage programme, which is all about giving real world context to the subject matter.  We love the mastery-based approach, which means that in most of our courses, there are opportunities to loop back until a child has shown mastery. It doesn’t matter whether you get 20% or 80%, you are going to loop back and master that section. And everyone does, building confidence and teaching them the importance of reflecting on their own learning.”

Through experiential and reflective learning, our children grow to understand how they learn which is essential in setting them up to be life-long learners in our fast-paced, ever-changing, technology-driven world.

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