Learning by doing

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand


Learning by doing, is there any better way? For instance: imagine you are going to learn how to use a hammer, and someone tries to explain it to you. How to hold it, how to bend your arm, what muscles to activate to get the proper force, how to aim at the nail… They can keep on explaining this for as long as they want, but they will never be able to teach you more than what you learn from your first five swings.

In CISV, learning by doing is an underlying thought for everything the organisation does. Through camps and trainings, the members are encouraged to actively participate in a range of activities and simulations to better understand peace-related topics. The outcome is a group of reflected young adults, on their way to become active global citizens.

After having seen this in many CISV-camps and trainings, we wanted to see how a ‘Learning by Doing’-approach can be applied in a school, in order to educate students to become more sustainable. That is why we went to visit Rochester School, and got blown away!

Rochester is located just outside of Bogotá, and is a bilingual school. This means that we met students with a high level of English who could show us around and tell us about the school’s sustainable initiatives, which the students themselves are a big part of. To give some examples: The solar panels which produces electricity and heat up the water for the school are also a great tool to use when the students learn about renewable energy. The “ecosystem” of the school, created by planting local plants, provides an amazing opportunity for students to learn more about biology, and can results in very interesting student-papers such as this, and by focusing on recycling the students have made a lot of material out of things that most people consider to be rubbish (such as empty bottles and tetrapacks).

After talking to several students, it became clear that through participating and taking charge of many of these initiatives, their knowledge are way beyond what we would expect from someone their age. More importantly, they showed a strong enthusiasm when they spoke about all of their sustainable work. They were excited, passionate and proud, which they have all reason to be. After all, they have succeeded in making their school more sustainable, and have learnt a lot by doing so.

Do you also want to be more sustainable? Well, pick up a hammer and just start swinging!

Activity: Sustainabingo