Learning by Doing
Bridging Differences. Building Community. Having Fun!
In Kids4Peace Boston, youth learn through doing, engaging in action and dialogue while having a lot of fun! In order to prepare youth for vulnerable and personal conversations around religious and values-based identities, we focus on building a community of care where participants feel safe and trust one another. Content is delivered primarily through experiential learning, and always processed through reflective exercises.
Kids4Peace Boston has a multi-modal approach to interreligious learning, with experience always at the fore. David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle is the primary method through which we learn and teach, with additional methods still being understood through this approach, such as project-based learning.
The experiential learning cycle relies on four major components:
- New Knowledge
Experiences and reflection happen within our K4PB program time, and will be very familiar to our participants! Experiences are what one would think of as the primary “learning” moments, when a staff member could be teaching something, a game-based learning experience could be shared, or youth might be engaged in an activity where they are discovering new knowledge for themselves. However, the ELC model makes clear that there is a lot more to learning than just that initial moment of content delivery! After we all share an experience together, we take time to reflect on what we have just experienced. It is common for us to consider what we have observed, how we communicated in/effectively, how we might have been more successful, and what we would change if we were to do the activity again. This reflection time helps youth process and internalize the initial experience, allowing for a successful transfer of the experience back into their everyday lives—taking what they have learned from K4PB and bringing it back to their home communities, families, schools, and faith traditions. From there, new knowledge is generated, and the cycle begins again! It is important to notice that this model is a cycle, that it keeps going on continually. We are all perpetually working to learn and grow more, and experience is the way that K4PB finds we can do that very effectively—and we have a lot of fun in the process!