By Maria Poccia, SED 2016
For three and a half months, I lived, studied, and worked in London, England. During my time in the United Kingdom, I traveled to ten countries taking fourteen planes, four ferries, two trains and busses, and countless Tube rides. I made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I ate macaroons in Paris, pasta in Rome, chocolate and fries in Belgium, Schnitzel in Vienna, and haggis in Edinburgh. I took thousands of pictures and broke two pairs of shoes while observing some of the worlds most breathtaking landmarks and natural wonders.
So, when people ask me “What was the most amazing part of your study aboard?” I have a hard time formulating an answer. Though I may not be able to choose what the best part of studying abroad was for me, I know what the most important aspect of my travels was- that I learned more about the world than ever before by observing it through first hand experiences.
As an education student, I believe that one way to create a strong, valuable learning experience is by observing something first hand. Whether it is looking at bacteria under a microscope in a lab, analyzing a painting at a museum, or working on communications and team work skills on a group project, learning by doing, according to Hayne W. Reese’s article Learning-by-Doing Principal, allows students to gain understanding and knowledge of something “from experiences resulting directly from one’s own actions”. This allows students to take ownership of their learning and develop a personal connection to material and content.
Wanting to be a social studies teacher, I believe that learning by doing has extreme value for students to learn about a period in history, region of the world, political and economic systems, or culture. If students are provided the opportunity to go on field trips, examine primary sources, and be immersed in an environment they are studying, they can truly analyze the world around them. In my future classroom, I want to expose students to the idea of exploration. In every unit, I hope to create an environment where my students actually feel like they are a part of world they are studying, and for them to become world travelers by being active scholars in the classroom.
Maria Poccia is a rising senior in the School of Education, majoring in History Education