We learn best when we are immersed in learning experiences that are active, engaged, meaningful, and interactive. This could be through experiential learning, small team projects, study trips, exploration of current events, use of online and digital sources of information, and internship programs. This means that learning can happen everywhere, not just the classroom.
We can’t ignore the importance of students attending classes to learn, but learning outdoors and in communities helps students to collaborate, make connections, and integrate knowledge into real-world application. This way, they become problem solvers who discover meaningful connections between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them.
Quest Forward Learning encourages mentors to create and provide opportunities for students to learn from their families, communities, and the world at large. Here are 4 lovely, exciting stories and experiences of how Quest Forward students are “learning everywhere and always,” and how it has impacted their skill set.
1. Students see firsthand responsible fishing’s impact on the ecosystem.
St. Monica Secondary School, Zanzibar
In the geography Form I quest, Drainage and Water Bodies,students engage in discussing drainage systems and major water bodies. It’s very lucky that St. Monica Secondary School is located at the shore of the Indian ocean where small-scale fishing is one of the largest island occupations for men living along its coast.
Miss Eunice Phoi, a geography mentor in collaboration with Mr. Lunyori Ming’ati at St. Monica, arranged for their students to visit the shore and explore the nature of the ocean and how water drains into it from different places, including from their school compound. Then, they investigated the pros and cons of the drainage system to the ocean and its aquatic species.
This outdoor exploration provided them with an opportunity to have a live encounter with a small-scale fishing activity. Students interviewed fishers on how they manage their fishing activities without causing problems to aquatic species, and their own lives.
They heard about the benefits of small-scale fishing and challenges fishers encounter. They took pictures and notes and compiled a report that they shared with fellow students at their school.
2. Students evaluate the benefits of local water sources.
Uroki Secondary School, Kilimanjaro
Form II students learn about conservation of natural sources of water as described in the quest Water Pollution. In the quest, students are asked to think about the problem of water pollution and what can be done to make water clean again.
For students to experience the reality of water pollution and conservation, Mr. Mangi Urassa, who mentors geography at Uroki Secondary School, furthered this activity by organizing a trip to explore local natural water sources with his Form II students.
They investigated the benefits of natural water sources to the local communities, challenges facing these water sources, and ways to overcome those challenges. For example, they saw firsthand how farming around water sources, like natural springs, has devastating impacts on the local communities and investigated the importance of vegetation in conserving these water sources.
3. Students make connections between what they learned in class and their real-world experiences.
Mtakuja Secondary School, Kilimanjaro
Aisha Hassan Wawuda, a Form III student, recently reflected on biofuel production when she connected her work in the quest Biogas and her visit to an actual biofuel plant. The trip was organized by her chemistry mentor, Mr. Juma Msangi.
Aisha reflected, “I have been participating in cleaning the school and home compound but didn’t realize the importance of waste that I have been disposing of. After we had a study trip to a nearby neighborhood to learn about ‘Biofuel Production’ from organic waste and interviewed our host, who manages the biogas plant, I realized that wastes/scraps that I have been disposing could be used to produce biogas as an alternative source of fuel. This was a new and exciting experience for me.”
4. Students become curious about everyday experiences.
Mtakuja Secondary School, Kilimanjaro
Julieth Kimambo, a Form III student at Mtakuja, learned the characteristics of fungi in the quest Kingdom Fungi. Later, she decided to conduct her own experiment at home on fungi and reported, “I warmed some water and mixed it with yeast. Then poured it into the bottle and at the top/mouth covered it with a balloon.”
“After some time,” Julieth said, “I noticed that the balloon was inflated and had gas in it. I realized that yeast had produced a certain gas that was collected into the balloon.” She then concluded that yeast has the same effect in baking bites like bread and mandazi.
When Learning Happens Everywhere, Learning Becomes Relevant
Students need to discover connections between what they learn in the classroom and life outside the school. This boosts their interest to attend school and learn because they realize the knowledge and skills they learn in school are important to improving life outside the school.
Through Quest Forward Learning, educators provide opportunities for learners to develop knowledge and skills outside the classroom.
The experiences we have everyday in the world that surrounds us significantly affects how and what we learn. When we embrace the idea that learning can happen all around us, we experience the joy of learning in our everyday lives.
Read more about exciting Quest Forward Learning experiences in Tanzanian classrooms here.