Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education


Experiential learning (EL) as it relates to the social sciences, involves going out into the community to conduct field studies or work with different groups who provide new approaches and collaborative perspectives to student learning. EL relies on the fact that students can communicate with distinct populations and oftentimes bridge cultural, linguistic, racial, generational, or geographical divides. As we emerge from a pandemic-induced social isolation into an increasingly siloed and divided political world, creating generative dialogue and skill sets to promote social activism and empathy for the common good is of utmost importance, especially for college students. Two EL experiences, a semester-long visual community interviewing project entitled The People of Chester and an immersive cultural field experience to Costa Rica are described as ways to enhance listening, observing, and dialoging skills.

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