Learning By Doing

Have you ever thought of “learning by doing” as a process? It’s certainly not just an activity that we plan for girls and say, “Now this is learning by doing,” only to wrap it up right at 4:00pm in time for the meeting to end. If learning by doing is, in fact, a process, then what are we doing along the way in order to get it right? Are we taking little detours, making mistakes, adjusting, tweaking and laughing at ourselves? How about getting frustrated, asking for help, giving up or feeling proud?

If I’m the adult watching the clock I may be more concerned about punctuality than process. I can finish up the last of a Brownie cooking project more easily than I can motivate a second grader to learn to finish by cleaning after the project is complete. I can hardly blame her because how many times have I tried to lose 10 pounds and not quite finished? In her world, cleaning up a cooking mess is just as hard as going to the gym regularly in mine. Maybe if I think of it all as a process I’ll be more patient with both of us.

What helps you keep going in the learning process when it isn’t fun anymore, but you still need to finish? How does that influence the way you facilitate the learning process for girls? I’d like to hear from you.