Experiential Learning 'is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with students in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values'. (Association for Experiential Education).
Experiential Learning is also described as learning by actions, by doing and through discovery and exploration. Over the past five years Pulteney has been involved in a range of community service, conservation and humanitarian programs. In addition to this, the School’s year level camps programs and holiday programs have been running for much longer, and are an integral part of education at Pulteney. Staff and students have benefitted from being involved in the programs in many ways, through school support to direct involvement in programs throughout South Australia, interstate and overseas. Overseas and interstate trips have seen staff and students journey to Nepal, Zambia, Kenya, India, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Experiential Learning programs are any learning programs that involve overnight or extended stay either during School term or in term and semester breaks. This includes the various entities within the School including: Outdoor Education, Venture Club, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Conservation Corps, sporting trips, Cultural and Language Immersion trips, Service Learning trips and School camps.
The School uses program partners and local contacts to provide expertise, location knowledge and skills to ensure successful programs. This includes various tour groups, adventure organisations, travel companies and educational institutions. Rigorous processes are used to ensure the program partners are the best match for Pulteney’s programs and that they provide the most comprehensive risk mitigation and contingency plans possible.
In order to conduct successful Experiential Learning programs, all planning, preparation and implementation is done in a professional and comprehensive manner. The School establishes specific outcomes for each program, that are sustainable, life enhancing and curriculum related. Extensive planning and involvement by the students prior to the program and detailed reflection and action post program add significant value to the outcomes.
Whether the program is local, interstate or overseas, students get to experience a different culture to that at home. The programs aim to push students out of their comfort zones and to provide them with new and different experiences. Students will experience a range of opportunities in their time at Pulteney through experiential learning, and some specific outcomes include:
- Developing skills that will helping them grow as an individual.
- Gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how individual actions impact on the environment.
- How to contribute to positive change.
- To appreciate and care for the natural environment.
- Appreciation and tolerance of other cultures
- First-hand experience in making a sustainable contribution to under privileged communities, by investing their time and effort.
- Presentation skills in communicating ideas
- Confidence to lead a group and make decisions.
- Skills in goal setting and meeting objectives.
- Understanding the value of working together as a cohesive team to achieve a common objective.
- The ability to face emotional, psychological and physical challenges.
- The ability to adapt to new environments outside of their 'comfort zone'.
- Develop resilience.
- Build strong friendships and bonds with their peers and other people in the School community.
If you would like further information regarding Pulteney’s Experiential Learning Programs, please contact the Coordinator of Experiential Learning, Mr. Daniel Polkinghorne.
Reference: Association for Experiential Education