Active Learning

A lot of what we do in our bushcraft courses doesn’t look like formal education. The old-school image of a standing instructor lecturing to seated students taking notes is a rarity. We have no love affair with seat time, nor with the lecture format. You’re more likely to see a small group of people engaged in a discussion as they move around the landscape. You’re certain to see people making and doing things.

Filling a notebook isn’t learning, it’s filling a notebook. Listening to a lecture is hearing someone talk about something. Learning, of the sort of know-how bushcraft seeks to foster, is accomplished by doing something. Years later you probably won’t remember what someone said, but you’ll remember what you did.

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  • Greg Averill February 17, 2011, 9:18 am

    I agree 100%. We learn more by doing than by listening or even watching others. There definitely needs to be initial guidance and example, but true mastery comes from application by the student. This rings true in any subject of study. I am a middle school English teacher. Students in seventh grade write a research paper for the first time. It can be a daunting task for 12 and 13 year olds when they are first introduced to the process. During the initial instruction, students don’t retain much of what was shown to them. However, as students start working through each part of the process, learning begins. They ask for tips on language and approach, as well as correct format and citation, while writing a research paper for themselves. They are learning and retaining because they are doing.

    The best teachers I have had offered guidance and tips while students were doing something.