This extract from Chapter 3, How students learn in residence halls (Blimling, 2015), focuses on various facets of situated, participatory and experiential learning potentially viable in numerous socio-cultural milieu (TP Message 1451, 2015.12.01).
Blimling, Gregory S. (2015). Student learning in residence halls: What works, what doesn't, and why. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
being knowledgeable and being intelligent are not the same. Being knowledgeable generally refers to having access to information and facts as well as the ability to recall them. Intelligence usually refers to a person’s ability to reason, solve problems, think critically, comprehend subject matter, use language to communicate effectively, construct relationships, employ logic, and manipulate numbers (Gardner, 1999)
Learning how to express emotions within a social system is knowledge acquired through social interaction governed by the rules and customs of the culture. One culture may encourage open and intense expression of emotional feelings, whereas another may see that same behavior as inappropriate. The exception is primal emotions, such as fear when confronted by a predator. Emotional expression is a matter of how much or the degree to which one expresses an emotion. Plutchik’s (1980) eight basic emotions include continuums from minimal to extreme expression:
Trust: acceptance to admiration Fear: timidity to terror Surprise: uncertainty to amazement Sadness: gloominess to grief Disgust: dislike to loathing Anger: annoyance to fury Anticipation: interest to vigilance Joy: serenity to ecstasy
Combinations of these basic emotions create other forms of expressions. For example, the combination of the emotions joy and trust produce love, while the combination of the emotions anticipation and anger produce aggression (Plutchik, 1980).
Experiencing diversity challenges expectations not only by increasing acceptance of different cultural, ethnic, and racial groups but also by enhancing students’ overall psychological functioning (Crisp & Turner, 2011). Pascarella (1996) reached a similar conclusion from the national study of student learning that found that diversity experiences in the first year of college had long-term positive effects on critical thinking throughout college, particularly for white students.
Experiential learning creates cognitive understanding and information retention through the transformative process of experience (Kolb, 1984; Kolb, Boyatzis, & Mainemelis, 1999). Siegel (2012) explains that the transformative process of learning through experience “directly shapes the [neurological] circuits responsible for such processes as memory, emotion, and self-awareness … [by] altering both the activity and the structure of the connections between neurons” (p. 9).
Kolb (1984) outlines four stages of experiential learning: (1) concert experience; (2) reflective observations; (3) abstract conceptualization; and (4) active experimentation. Students can start anywhere in the process but return to test their understandings and modify them based on experience.