European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Out-of-school learning

Majority of our basic learning derives from education obtained from kindergarten or school.

Majority of our basic learning derives from education obtained from kindergarten or school. These are the institutions where we acquire our fundamental knowledge regarding the world in general, but also an overview of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history, music and various other subjects. The world around us is full of meanings, and this applies also to learning. Yet, many students keep on asking why they have to study these things. Answers and motivators may vary, but the essential reason is mastering skills for managing with out-of-school life as well as possible.

It is obvious that we start testing the knowledge learnt at school after we leave the classroom. Did the salesman give me the right amount of change? What happens when I mix two chemical substances? Which is the safest way of changing a light bulb? How should I ask the time in English? Schoolteachers are not evil-minded or malevolent – they do not ask their pupils to learn things by heart out of spite, but do it for the sake of the children. The more we know, the smarter we are. And our smartness reflects in our abilities of behaving, speaking, moving and making decisions in a conscious and sensible way. Knowledge enables us to prevent accidents and disorientation, we are more informed and aware of the world that surrounds us.

Although we use in our everyday lives the knowledge obtained from school, an important part of learning takes place out-of-school. School involves various subjects, textbooks and workbooks, homework and quizzes, but there are numerous things that are not taught at school, and which we learn from our parents and grandparents, or empirically on our own. For example, we learn from people around us, by observing them and listening to their advice and suggestions. These are the ways of understanding how to behave in a cafe, which clothes are appropriate for girls and boys, how to milk a cow or to fish, how to braid a pigtail, how to get rid of the smell of burnt milk and to peel an onion without shedding tears. There is a myriad of skills and facts that the school does not teach us and which we learn at home via various activities; the list of examples is never-ending.

Majority of out-of-school learning takes place with the assistance of our families, relatives and friends. However, we obtain extra-curricular education also from participation at trainings or workshops, sports courses or camps, youth organisations and hobby clubs – each of these activities provide us with a lot of useful and educational information. Such activities support our development and are exciting, because they offer something that is often missing from school – interactive and playful acquisition of knowledge, whereby the inherent fun precludes defiance. Children should definitely attend various summer camps, where they meet new people and develop their communication skills, learn to make a fire, to tie knots, to craft and to orientate in the nature. Each piece of information that we collect might be helpful in the future, and for sure it is simply enjoyable to possess a variety of practical knowledge. In addition, it is great to pass one’s knowledge on to younger siblings or classmates – repetition and revision embeds our knowledge and educates our fellows.

Older students should get involved with out-of-school learning, by attending job shadowing programs or field trainings, getting a summer job, and having hard-headed conversations with those who are wiser and older.

Published: Thu, 10/10/2013 - 15:48


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