There are countless different teaching methods available, from extremely rigid to almost completely hands-off. Each of these styles boasts its own benefits and drawbacks for young minds. As a child, how were you taught? Did it work for you? Or would you have preferred another style? It’s likely that each little one will benefit more from a different approach than others, based on a variety of factors, but we’re here to discuss the differences between experiential learning versus drill kill. If you’ve never heard of these before, don’t worry – we’ll break them down for you!
Experiential learning is essentially when children learn through experiencing something themselves. More commonly known as Montessori, there’s a common model when referring to this style of learning that breaks it down into 5 different steps. First, a child will have an experience, likely a hands-on way of helping them to learn a new concept. Secondly, they’ll be encouraged to reflect on what that experience was like for them. Next, they will think some more and process what they’ve just learned, followed by acting and applying what they learned to a new experience all over again. This cycle really encourages children to be independent in their thinking process and feel confident enough to come to conclusions by themselves; not having to be directed by an adult. Some great examples of experiential learning are engineering/Rube Goldberg projects, scavenger hunts, field trips, and any other way to get children immersed in their own learning experience.
At BumoBrain, we’re proud to offer a Montessori style of learning that is built on the principles of creativity, critical thinking, and exploration. We encourage all little learners to feel inspired and encouraged that they’re capable of anything they put their minds to! Whether part of our 100+ Live Classes or various other programs, all of our offerings strongly encourage play and lots of unplugged activities. We believe that the best way for a child to learn is through hands-on engagement, not by staring at a screen or reciting material. Why practice math problems over and over when you could learn how to add, group, and improve your motor skills while learning with playdough? Our Mushy Math class for kids ages 3-6 is just one example of how we integrate Montessori learning into our curriculum.
Drill and Kill Learning
In contrast, another common method of learning is drill and kill. This differs quite greatly from Montessori as it emphasizes repetition and memorization. Rather than grasping new concepts through applying them to real-life situations, drill and kill encourages kids to repeat learning something until they have “perfected” or “mastered” it, allowing them to then move onto the next concept. As you could imagine, this comes with many potential downsides. Children aren’t robots and often experience many ups and downs in their learning journey.
Every child is at a different level, even within the same age group, so it can be harmful to assess them all with the same rigid metrics. Additionally, some days kids will perform better academically than others, so even if they’ve previously “mastered” a concept, they might still need help with it at some point. This style of learning can lead to decreased confidence, as it encourages competition and meeting the same benchmarks as everyone else, not progressing at your own pace.
No matter what style of teaching or learning you decide is best for your child, make sure to frequently check in on their progress and how they feel about their education. Learning is not a one-size-fits-all experience for anyone, so help support your child in their journey by making them feel supported, encouraged, and empowered to do their best!