WildZests: Exploring the Experiential Learning Process!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Exploring the Experiential Learning Process!

Albert Einstein had said "The only source of knowledge is experience". I tend to agree with it completely, until you've gone through it, you don't "really" know what it's like. With the advent of technology and youtube, it's not too difficult to find a video or an article on what you were trying to do. There's enough crazy guys who must have tried something similar already and most likely video-taped it as well. But the touch and feel experience is something you'd not forget easily vs having a third person view.

And this is exactly what happened in one of our lunch time conversations. Pozu and I were discussing some random stuff when the discussion went on to describing how clay pots are made. When I offered to take her to show her the pot making activity in person she was all excited about it. So we finalized a visit to the Pottery Town in Bangalore on the following weekend. All through the week she kept checking if we were on track with the plan, so there was no running away from it.


That day she woke up and got ready pretty quick and soon we were in Pottery Town. Given that the Ganesh festival was round the corner, there were lots of stalls selling idols from a 1ft tall to a larger than life idol standing 15ft tall. I had imagined the area to be abuzz with the artisans, but the traditional clay pot making houses are reduced to only a handful. Pozu was amused to see how one of the guys was kneading a large blob of clay with his feet - all she knew about clay until now was the colored Playdoh.

On speaking with one of the fellows there, he told me that the large pot making guys weren't there for the weekend and I could come back on Monday if I wanted to see that. But there was one guy making small pots and the diyas upstairs. So we went up and met Ramesh who was a really kind-hearted gentleman. He first did a demo of how he makes the small pots and then invited Pozu to help him make a pot. Initially she was a bit apprehensive about it, but once she had laid her hands on the clay, she was all smiles.

He even gifted her one of the pots as a souvenir with a nice handle on it. She now has plans to color it nicely as one of the weekend activities.

Pozu @ Pottery Town

A few days later, she surprised me with a question. "Daddy, what will happen if the Earth stopped spinning?" I didn't know how to respond to it so that she'd understand that the gravitational force would cease to exist and weather conditions would change drastically etc. But then she bowled me over by saying "If the Earth stopped, we'll all fall off". I asked her who taught her that and she said one of the boys from her school was telling them all this. And thus began our conversations about how the world is like a ball that goes around itself and the sun and how we experience night and day etc. Heck, she even understands the fact that US is almost diametrically opposite and that's how they're sleeping for the night when it's day here in India - makes me look like a fool sometimes.

Pozu carving a design

It was quite funny on how she is able to grasp all that concept so easily at her age. I'm sure that I wouldn't even have known how to wear my own clothes at the age of 4. She was eager to know more about how the moon changes shapes etc and soon we were talking about the solar system and the planets that in our galaxy. In 10 minutes she had registered the names of all the planets and could tell them in order of sequence. Soon, we were getting deeper and deeper into technicalities of the various colors of the planets, how they all go around the sun without hitting each other and how each of them has different number of moons etc.

Pozu @ Planetarium

Looking at her level of curiousity, we took Pozu for a visit to the Nehru Planetarium. I knew it was going to be a little early for her age, but amazingly enough she enjoyed the documentary and could relate back to our conversations as she saw the planets and stars on the gigantic dome screen. Actually, she was quite amazed with the dome screen since she was expecting something like the cinema screens.

I don't think she'll be able to retain all of this by the time she starts learning about it in her school, but given her learning capacity, I am really not concerned about all that just now. Overall, it was a wonderful experience not just for her but even for us - reinforcing some of the knowledge that takes a backseat with everything else that goes on in life. 

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