“It’s a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” -Albert Einstein
Some people absorb a lot of information from reading textbooks and listening to lectures. And I’ll admit, I’m capable of learning using those methods.
But hands-on application is my JAM.
Even better? Performing the hearing test myself.
I took my awesome roommate (S/O to Viv) down to the speech & hearing clinic and set her up in the soundbooth. I gathered her case history, then measured her thresholds of hearing by adjusting frequencies and intensities. I marked down the lowest levels she could hear on an audiogram.
We weren’t required to do all the diagnostic procedures that a real audiologist does, but it still gave me a good idea of how the process works. Having that hands-on experience solidified my classroom knowledge so much that I wonder why we don’t do more hands-on projects in general.
Perhaps the reason so many college students go to school with no idea of what they want to study is because we don’t give middle and high school students enough opportunities to do job shadows and simulations that would let them test-run a variety of careers.
I came into higher education with a serious interest in speech-language pathology because I’d shadowed a few SLPs for daylong intensives and over a semester in high school. I got to see what they do and talk to them about their perspectives on their work. It didn’t give the total picture, but it gave a good enough idea that I could commit to the major in college.
Whenever possible, teachers should utilize hands-on techniques to teach steps and processes, encouraging visualization of unfamiliar or intangible concepts. Hands-on experiences are irreplaceable. They emphasize problem-solving and application. They go beyond what lectures and readings can’t even begin to cover. They have the potential to shape a young person’s idea of who they are and who they can be.